Released Palestinian Prisoners Aren't Free
by Stephen Lendman
What country is a modern day Sparta? Which one lives by the sword? Which one deplores peace and stability? Which one threatens an entire region and beyond?
Which one ignores rule of law principles? Which one has no constitution? Which one has no official borders?
Which one won't declare them? Which one won't do it because it wants them expanded? Which one intends doing so by stealing other people's land?
Which one mocks democratic values? Which one spurns fundamental human and civil rights? Which one institutionalized racism? Which one violates all international humanitarian laws?
Which one persecutes people for praying to the wrong God? Which one ignores all UN resolutions compromising its interests? Which one considers Muslims subhumans?
Which one is all take and no give? Which one has no legitimacy? Which one lacks credibility? Which one can't be trusted? Which one says one thing and does another.
Which one denies freedom to prisoners it releases? Which one illegitimately rearrests them?
Which one harasses, intimidates and terrorizes released prisoners? Which one treats an entire people the same way?
Which one does it because they're not Jews? Which one gets away with murder and lots more?
Which one operates with impunity? Which one gets away with it because world leaders able to make a difference support its worst crimes?
Which one rules lawlessly? Which one mocks fundamental decency? Which one considers mass murder, ethnic cleansing, land theft, torture, and other high crimes divine rights?
Which one wages aggressive wars without mercy? Which one did so to steal another people's land? Which one illegitimately transformed Palestine into Israel?
Long suffering Palestinians endure its cruelty. Thousands of political prisoners languish in its gulag.
It's one of the world's harshest. Cruel and unusual punishment is official policy. So is ruthlessness writ large.
Many Palestinian victims are held uncharged and untried. Others are wrongfully imprisoned on bogus accusations. Women are treated like men. Children are treated like adults.
Horrific treatment includes torture, other cruel and degrading treatment, food unfit to eat, medical neglect, poor ventilation, sanitation and personal hygiene, inadequate clothing, and frequent solitary confinement for any reason or none at all.
Last summer, Israel agreed to release 104 long held prisoners. Freeing them is coincidental with sham peace talks. Lawless settlement expansions are announced at the same time.
Releasing small numbers of political prisoners is meaningless. Implementation is in four stages. In mid-August, 26 were freed. On October 29, an equal number followed. On December 30, so did 26 more.
Every time Israel releases Palestinians, many more imprisonments follow. So-called good will is fake.
No Palestinian is safe. Israeli Arab citizens are vulnerable. Anyone can be imprisoned for any reason or none at all.
Police states operate this way. Israel is one of the worst. It operates ruthlessly. State terrorism defines official policy. A cabal of criminals run things.
They waging war on Islam. They consider Muslims state enemies. They transformed Israel into an obscenity.
Policies reflect self-righteous sophistry. Fascists pretend to be democrats. Hypocritical viciousness masquerades as Jewish exceptionalism.
Peace, equity and justice are four-letter words. Fantasy world pretense substitutes illusions for reality.
Palestinian prisoner releases are conditional. Strings attached reveal duplicity. Addameer prisoner support group general director Sahar Francis said operating this way undermines "hope" and "trust."
"Israel has showed it is putting conditions on prisoner releases, and the US supports" its policy, she said. "Prisoners held before 1993 should have been released 20 years ago," she stressed.
They never should have been imprisoned in the first place.
Releasing them after unjust longterm incarceration reflects Israeli viciousness.
Attached strings makes it worse. Releases deny freedom. East Jerusalem residents can't visit West Bank or Gaza communities. Many can't leave their own neighborhoods. They can't travel abroad.
Some aren't permitted to return home. They're deported to Gaza or abroad. Ayman Sharawna's release was conditional on spending 10 years in Gaza.
For Hana Shalabi, it was three years. They had no choice. It was agree or stay imprisoned. They remain vulnerable to rearrest anyway.
Violating draconian Israeli rules means more imprisonment. For some, it's for many more years.
Involvement in political activities is prohibited. According to Francis:
"These practices show that the Israelis are not really seeking justice and a lasting peace with the Palestinians."
"If (they) really had good intentions to end the conflict and grant Palestinians basic rights under international law, they should release all Palestinian prisoners and stop arresting (more) in the occupied territories."
Israel routinely rearrests many former detainees. Since 1967, various military orders authorized occupation harshness.
On May 1, 2010, Military Order 1651 codified them into Israel's Criminal Code. It consolidated past versions relating to arrests, prosecutions, and detentions.
It applies to children like adults. Israel makes no distinction. Children of any age risk abuse and ill-treatment. It's standard Israeli practice.
Imagine imprisoning children younger than 10. Imagine doing it on fake evidence. Imagine isolating them from parents and legal counsel.
Imagine torturing them to force confessions. Imagine children saying anything to stop pain. Imagine women abused the same way.
Military Order 1651, Article 186 lets a special Israeli military committee sentence released prisoners to complete unserved time. It can do so based on secret evidence or none at all.
Frequent rearrests are commonplace. Israel considers exercising fundamental rights terrorism. Military Order 101 criminalizes fundamental freedoms. Prohibitions include:
- public assembles and vigils;
- holding them to seek relief from legitimate grievances;
- displaying Palestinian flags and other symbols;
- printing and distributing Palestinian political material; and
- influencing public opinion by "political incitement."
Supporting so-called "hostile organizations" is prohibited. Demonstrations sympathetic to Hamas, Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad, the Popular Movement for the Liberation of Palestine, and similar groups are strictly forbidden.
Francis calls draconian Israeli conditions "serious" human rights violations. Imposing them reflects police state ruthlessness.
It shows Israel doesn't want peace. It never did. It doesn't now.
Sham talks assure none in our time. Multiple earlier ones were stillborn on arrival. Current ones are no different.
Palestinians never had a legitimate peace partner. Longtime Israeli collaborationists represent them. They ignore decades of Israeli high crimes demanding prosecution.
They pretend sham talks are real. They're fake like they always were. Israeli crimes against humanity continue daily while they're ongoing.
So-called Palestinian negotiators turn a blind eye to abuses too grave to be ignored. Israel considers Palestinians "terrorists," said Francis.
It doesn't recognize them "as people seeking their independence and self-determination, and this makes the whole difference in the treatment of prisoners in the political channel."
"We are happy that…26 (more) prisoners who spent years of their life in jail are being freed...(O)f course, the sadness is in thinking of the remaining (thousands still) suffering (unjustly) behind bars."
Freedom depends on ending what's too intolerable to accept. It demands Israeli officials be held accountable for high crimes too grave to be ignored.
It requires liberation. It means ending occupation harshness once and for all. It demands criminalizing state terrorism.
It means granting Palestinians all rights they deserve. It involves enforcing rule of law principles to the letter. It's exempting no one for any reason.
It's punishing high crimes against peace severely. It's making it in our time possible. It's supporting right over wrong. It's doing it because it matters.
Long suffering Palestinians deserve justice. It's high time they're no longer denied.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at email@example.com.
His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
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