The Gilad Shalit/450 prisoner swap has been the only headline in Israel, for the past few days. Many "analyses" have already been issued- by the media by self appointed experts- despite the fact that there’s meagre information revealed to the public, by either the Israeli or the Palestinian negotiators. I was planning on dismissing the whole ordeal as yet another pathetic attempt of Prime Minister Olmert to cement a legacy. Making sure he’ll be remembered as the man who tried to free Gilad Shalit, if not the man who achieved it. But a recent development has managed to take Israel’s cruelty one step further.
Blood on Their Hands?
As far as the Israeli public knows, all Palestinian prisoners are guilty. The majority with "blood on their hands". No amount of Amira Hass’ honest reporting will penetrate the thick indoctrination. In her article for Ha’aretz, this week, for instance, she tells the story of Razi Nimes, sentenced to life imprisonment, already serving 24 years, since he was 27. What’s his crime? Belonging to Fatah (a legitimate political organization). Soon enough, the proof of Israeli Ignorance will rear its ugly head in the article’s comment section:
"There is not one prisoner being held for their ideas. They are being held because they are murderers or attempted murderers." [#9]
In Hass’ earlier article on the same issue, by a completly different person:
"Can Amira Hass please explain me what a "political prisoner" in Israel is? Name one Palestinian prisoner in Israeli jails who is held by "his ideas" not his deeds." [#1]
The fact is that the majority of Palestinian prisoners have never been tried. And that’s just one of the violations of international law Israel has never been tried for. The worst crime, being the imprisonment of children as young as 12. Even if these kids "have blood on their hands"- when a child kills, isn’t that a good time to ask questions as to why?
I can’t claim to know anything for sure, but after seeing how Israeli Arabs are treated, I just can’t find it in me to doubt all these consistent narratives.
Whichever of these men, women and children are on the list of 450 to be "freed", Israel would like to abuse its power to the maximum. The latest detail of the negotiations (and the reason I can’t ignore this latest media stunt) as stated in Ha’aretz:
"…Israel is insisting that several dozen of the released prisoners be exiled abroad and that others be released to Gaza rather than the West Bank."
It’s not enough that these people’s home is the largest open-air-prison known to man, Israel would have them completely exiled. Separated from their loved ones, from their home.
Spinning the Spin
The deal, as expected, has fallen through (although as far as I understand, the fat lady has yet to sing). Israel’s reasons (as stated in Ha’aretz):
"Diskin and Dekel reported that over the past few days Hamas has toughened its stance in talks over a possible prisoner swap, raising its demands and backtracking on previous understandings. "
What Hamas made clear, since the "unilateral ceasefire", was that the complete opening of the check points would be a prerequisite to any negotiations. Most recent update on the negotiations, in Ha’aretz, quoted "an Israeli political source" disregarding facts on the ground:
"The crossings … are operating at a minimum to prevent a humanitarian crisis in Gaza… And they [the crossings] will remain so until Gilad Shalit is released… "
Justice Minister Daniel Friedmann added in typical holiness-than-thou-Jewish-Israeli fashion:
"The prime minister was ready for far reaching concessions, way beyond what some of the ministers were ready for… At the same time, Hamas’ demands reached such proportions that in our assessment, no Israeli government could accept."
So "what will happen to the boy?", as Ha’aretz correspondence asked, in the name of all concerned Israeli citizens. Unfortunately, the boy- a soldier in an occupying army- is probably already dead and if not, I dare not imagine. As I dare not imagine what has happened to over 700,000 Palestinians, since 1967. At least they were accounted for.