Thursday, February 23, 2017

23-Feb-17: The fate of another Shalit Deal murderer and what this means for peace

New Yorkers standing up for the rights of another unrepentant, convicted
Islamist murderer/"political prisoner" - January 2017 [Image Source}
A Ma'an News Agency report ["Longest-serving Palestinian prisoner resentenced to life in prison plus 18 years", February 23, 2017] throws some light on how the catastrophic Shalit Deal is viewed in Palestinian Arab circles.

It starts by focusing on Nael Barghouthi, 59, whom it terms "the longest-serving Palestinian prisoner". It says he was sentenced yesterday by an Israeli court to life in prison with an additional 18-year sentence, and quotes the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society as its source.
PPS said in a statement that the court had ruled that Barghouthi, 59, was to serve the remainder of his previous sentence received prior to his short-lived release in 2011 as part of a prisoner swap deal between Israel and the Hamas movement. Israeli forces first detained Barghouthi, who is from the village of Kobar in the central occupied West Bank district of Ramallah, in 1978 when he was 20 years old for alleged membership in an armed resistance group. After being released as part of a prisoner swap exchanging Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit with more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners held by Israel, he was redetained in June 2014 when Israeli authorities claimed that he had broken the terms of his release, and was sentenced to 30 months in prison... However, he remained in Israeli custody after a military court rejected an appeal to release him in January... [Ma'an]
It then offers this piece of unsubstantiated analysis:
Since the Shalit deal, Israel has initiated mass detention campaigns to bring hundreds of former prisoners released in the exchange back into Israeli custody, in violation of the agreement.
Violation? Here's what really happened.

In October and November of 2011, some 1,027 convicted Palestinian Arab terrorists were released from their Israeli prison cells as part of the Hamas-driven extortion of the government of Israel to have a hostage, Gilad Shalit, freed. We know this as the Shalid Deal and have expressed our outrage repeatedly at the violation of fundamental principles of justice that this catastrophic transaction represents [see "13-Feb-17: Another Shalit Deal milestone" and our previous posts listed there]. The Arabs have recently taken to avoiding the Shalit label and instead call it the Wafa al-Ahrar prisoner exchange. (Orwell would have appreciated the double-speak of applying "exchange" to an act of cold-blooded and illegal extortion based on the holding of a hostage in an underground cellar for five years.)

All of them were let loose on explicit conditions. In some cases, the prisoners signed a document acknowledging those conditions which we know (from personally inspecting some of the documents) varied from convict to convict. (Na'el Barghouti's sentence commutation was certainly subject to conditions as an October 2011 Christian Science Monitor article made clear.) In many cases, for instance, the conditions included a restriction on where the terrorists could and could not live.

In every case, the commutations of sentence - note carefully: not pardons - were conditioned on the terrorists not returning to do more terror. Breaching that condition rendered the terrorists automatically liable to being returned to their cells and serving the remainder of the sentence. No fresh hearing, no parole, no flexibility.

In the Israel Prison Service table of prisoners walking free in the Shalit Deal, the name of prisoner 959266958 is given as Na'al Salah Abdullah Barghuti (in Hebrew: נאאל ברגותי סאלח עבדללה). The Ma'an editors say he was behind bars for
alleged membership in an armed resistance group.
That's the sort of disingenuous nonsense in which they routinely engage, along with calling every act of Arab-on-Israel terror "alleged" and most convicted murderers of Israelis "political prisoners". A Ynet report at the time conveys what anyone who looked up the prisoner's name in the widely-circulating IPS papers (or Wikipedia) would have known: that 
Nael al-Barghouthi, the longest-serving Palestinian prisoner... was sentenced to life in prison in 1978, for murdering an Israeli security officer... [Ynet]
Other Arab sources have hinted a little more broadly at the homicidal activity that earned him a life sentence. A Pal Arab advocacy site [here] says he was arrested after
carrying out a commando operation in which one Israeli was killed.
Aljazeera adds that the
"commando operation" which killed one Israeli [was] near the West Bank settlement of Halamish... "After 30 years in captivity, we are just soldiers returning to our bases," he told the Palestinian newspaper Falastin.
(Israelis know Halamish better as Neve Tzuf, the Jewish community that most closely abuts a notoriously violent Arab settlement about which we have written several times [see "17-Mar-13: A little village in the hills, and the monsters it spawns" and "29-Aug-15: Revisiting a Palestinian Arab village and its monsters".]

MEMO said he
joined an operation in June 1978 against military targets. Following their arrest, he and his brother were sentenced to life imprisonment.
Since the Arab media is famously free and loose with its facts, it's not surprising that a different article on the very same site [here] says he was
arrested at his family home in the village of Kubar on 4th April 1978 and sentenced to life imprisonment
which if true would mean he was arrested two months before the murder of which he was convicted. (The UN Security Council may yet be asked to get involved.) As for Ma'an, even saying he was arrested would be giving too much credit to the Israelis. They consistently write of him [here] and other terrorists that they were "detained".

Why was the freed murderer, let loose in 2011 despite his uncompleted life sentence, re-arrested in June 2014. Ma'an simply says
Israeli authorities claimed that he had broken the terms of his release... [Ma'an]
And as we noted above, it claims re-arresting those freed terrorists was
in violation of the agreement [Ma'an]
between Israel and the outlawed terrorists of Hamas. But it was in fact very much in accordance with the conditions of the commutation of sentence and therefore the terms agreed. (Haaretz refers to a hearing which considered his involvement with Hamas and with financing terror activities.) Ma'an then quotes a Hamas spokesperson saying
the Israeli decision to resentence Barghouthi was "another crime added to the criminal record of the Israeli occupation against the Palestinian people." He added that the decision was a "futile attempt to break the will of our people and stop their endeavor to gain freedom." [Ma'an]
No it wasn't another crime. It wasn't any crime. It was the straight-forward result of him breaching the terms of the disgraceful, unconscionable deal which got him his freedom. A Palestinian Arab source, Samidoun, says several dozen Shalit Deal beneficiaries have been sent back to Israeli prisons, some (we assume) fated to complete their original sentences. It names them as
Nidal Zaloum; Abd El-Men’em Othman To’meh; Majdi Atieh Suleiman ‘Ajouli; Ayed Khalil; Samer El-Mahroum; Alaa El-Bazyan; Adnan Maragha; Nasser Abedrabbo; Safwan Oweiwi; Rabee’ Barghouthi; Suleiman Abu Eid; Ibrahim Shalash; Ibrahim Al-Masri; Zuheir Sakafi; Ahmad Al-‘awawdeh; Bassam Na’im Al-Natsheh Abu Eid; Mahmoud Al-Swaiti; Mu’amar Al-Ja’bari; Khaled Makhamra; Abbas Shabaneh; Rasmi Maharik; Nayef Shawamreh; Na’eem Masalmeh; Mu’az Abu Rmouz; Amer Moqbel; Ashraf Al-Wawi; Muhamad Barakat; Ya’koub Al-Kilani; Aref Fakhouri; Waheeb Abu Al-Rob; Muhamad Saleh El-Rishek; Mu’amar Ghawadra; Imad Mussa; Abdelrahman Salah; Ashraf Abu El-Rob; Wael Jalboush; Nidal Abdelhaq; Taha Al-Shakhsheer; Zaher Khatatbeh; Hamza Abu Arkoub; Mahdi El-Assi; Shadi Zayed Odeh; Jamal Abu Saleh; Ismail Hijazi; Rajab Tahan; Samer Issawi; Khader Radee; Imad Fatouni; Muhamad Issa Awad; Suleiman Abu Seif; Ahmad Hamad; Khaled Ghizan; Ismail Musalam; Yousri Joulani; Nael Barghouthi; Imad Abdul-Rahim; Fahd Sharaya.
(We have not yet compared them with the names in the Israeli records. Stand by. On the IDF's law site in Hebrew [here] there's useful discussion about how the military viewed these prisoners and the rationale for why they were deemed liable to be sent back behind bars.)

Barghouti is a hero today, not despite the murder that Ma'an is too coy to mention but because of it.

Palestinian Arab society demonizes those who speak of peace and reconciliation, and makes heroes of those who kill and perpetuate the hatred. There is no chance of better times as long as this is true. Na'el Barghouti started out as a terrorist with Fatah back in 1978. As a prisoner, he converted to become a religious extremist and, according to Ma'an, now owes his allegiance to the Islamists of Hamas.

The world would not be a better place - not our world, not the Palestinian Arab world - if men like these were handed back their freedom. Basic notions of justice (10-Jun-12: "Prime Minister Netanyahu: Honor the principles of justice and decency on which our nation is based.") dictate that not one of them ought to have gotten free via the kidnapping and ransom demands that were integral to the Shalit Deal.

The deaths and destruction that have followed have demonstrated via blood and tears how well-founded the outrage and anger at the catastrophic Shalit Deal were and are.


Josh Korn said...

So what exactly did he do to get rearrested?

This Ongoing War said...

How important is the answer?

This Ongoing War said...

"After his release, Barghouti renewed his involvement in terrorist activity, violating his terms of release," the army told AFP on Sunday.
Source: AFP []
Published: February 26, 2017