Prisoner release . . . for a time?
Israel released 26 Palestinian prisoners as part of a deal that will see peace talks resume on Wednesday 14th August, but Al Jazeera quotes Randa Wahbe, advocacy officer at Addameer, a Palestinian prisoners’ support organisation, who points out that – if earlier precedents are followed – some released prisoners will either be re-arrested, deported or internally displaced to the Gaza Strip: “Prisoners don’t have amnesty and could be re-arrested and made to serve out the rest of their sentence.”
Magnanimous? Several had served their sentence and would have been released soon regardless of this ‘deal’
Fuad Al-Khoffash, head of the Ahrar Center for Detainees Studies and Human Rights, analysed the list of prisoners to be released, recording his thoughts in his blog. Some of those mentioned were:
- Samir Hussein Mortaji from Gaza, arrested in 1993, sentenced to 20 years, was due to be released next month
- Jamal Ambdul-Wahab Natsha arrested in 1992, sentenced to 21 years, was scheduled to be released in three months
- Four other detainees were named who have served long sentences and were supposed to be released in less than a year.
- Ismael Abdul-Hafeeth Mansour, arrested in 1993, was scheduled to be released in two years.
- Atef Izzat Sha’ath, arrested in 1993, had spent 21 years of his 25-year term.
- Yousef Sa’id Abdul-‘Aal, from Gaza, arrested in1994, due for release in two years.
Plans to seize illegally annexed Arab property in East Jerusalem shadow the talks
The Independent reports, on the very day ‘peace’ talks began, that Israel is moving ahead with plans to apply a legal device that would enable it to seize up to 40% of Arab private property in annexed East Jerusalem, captured in the 1967 Middle East war. The international community rejected the annexation as a violation of international law.
In June, Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein wrote to Israel’s Supreme Court that Palestinians residing outside the Israeli-declared municipal boundaries of the city in the West Bank are considered “absentees” rather than the owners of their property – a designation that would enable the state to seize their land. But Yehudit Oppenheimer, director of NGO Ir Amim, which is working for an equitable and stable Jerusalem with an agreed political future, said:.
“Applying the absentee property law is a legal way of stealing the property of the Palestinians.”