Tue. Oct 16 2018

Israeli PM should know, ‘it takes two, not three, to tango!’

Oct 08 2018

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They say it takes two to tango, but if one of them is Benjamin Netanyahu, then you need three. I say that because Israel is currently engaged in indirect negotiation for a prisoners' swap deal with Hamas.

However, the Israeli Prime Minister saw fit few days ago to plead with the UN Secretary General to urge the international community to put pressure on Hamas in order to release the remains of two IOF soldiers killed in Gaza during the 2014 assault, that led to killing of more than 2,270 and injuring more than 11,500 others, and to help free two Israeli citizens who entered Gaza illegally.

Netanyahu never ceased to amaze me! He goes through pain to distort and twist the facts about the prisoners and then tells the UN Chief only half of the story about them. 

Here is the other half:

1) Israel is currently holding the remains of 261 Palestinians. Those were people who were killed during the fighting, killed during midnight raids or at checkpoints in occupied Palestine, thus prolonging the suffering of their families and denying the families the chance for proper burial and paying their respects. 

2) The PM made no mention about the status of the 6,500 Palestinian political prisoners, among them 63 women, 400 children, 12 Palestinian lawmakers, and two EU citizens of Palestinian origin that Israel continues to hold 

3) The PM refused to recognize that fact that 600 out of 6,500 Palestinian prisoners in Israel are held under Administrative Detention Act (ADA).  ADA is a procedure that allows the Israeli military to hold prisoners indefinitely on secret evidence without charging them or allowing them to stand trial. It is renewable every 6 months indefinitely, a practice that was not even deployed during the Nazi era.

4) Out of the 400 Palestinian children held prisoners, 3 are being held under ADA and 47 of them have not been charged. In other words, they are guilty of nothing and innocent of all. Even if they did, holding and detaining children violates the Israeli law as well as international laws.

5) All four Israeli prisoners held by Hamas that the PM is calling for their release are technically invaders or criminal trespassers.

Here is the latest news about the indirect negotiation about possible prisoners' swap deal between Hamas and Israel:

A- As precondition, Hamas is demanding the release of prisoners who had been set free in 2011 in exchange for IOF soldier Gilad Shalit and who were later re-arrested in Jerusalem and the West Bank.

B- Israel agreed to release the Palestinian prisoners but wanted them to be sent into exile in various Arab Gulf States, despite the fact that Geneva Convention Article 49 (1) forbids Israel the deportation of civilians from the  occupied territories to another country or to another occupied territory.

C- Abu Obeida, one of Hamas' top military leaders, better known as Palestinian defence minister, said "No can do," to the Israeli offer.

D-Israel then counter-offered to release an undisclosed number of female prisoners, minors, and Hamas MPs being held without charge in exchange for video proof of the fate of three Israelis held by Hamas, according to a report by the Lebanese daily Al-Akhbar.

Why doesn't Israel for starters simply release the estimated 1,000 men, women, and children it is holding "WITHOUT ANY CHARGES" along with the 58 rearrested prisoners who did not commit any offense? I am sure Hamas would be more than happy to provide a video proof about the two Israeli nationals.

An agreement should be respected by both parties from A-Z. However in the 3 previous prisoners' swap deals with the Palestinians, Israel failed to respect any of those agreements.

1- During the October 1983 POW exchange between Israel and the PLO, Israel Security Forces snatched Ziad Abu Ein after he was cleared by the International Red Cross checkpoint.

2- Hana Shalabi is a Palestinian activist who went on a 43-day hunger strike inside an Israeli prison to protest her “administrative detention” was released from Ramleh Prison Hospital in April 2012 under the condition that she be expelled to the Gaza Strip for a period of "THREE YEARS." During the three years, Hana was not allowed to visit her parents and her parents were not allowed to visit her either. Since her expulsion order expired 3 years ago, Hana has been denied the right to return home.

3- Who can forget the 39 Palestinian prisoners who were exiled to Gaza (26 prisoners) and EU (13 prisoners) after the Israelis’ infamous siege of the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem in 2002. Despite the fact that Israel expelled them for ONLY 10 years, those 39 men still waiting for the last 6 years to be re-united with their families.

4- Several of the Palestinian-freed prisoners from "Shalit deal" were executed in cold blood by IOF soldiers, including the 2016 shooting of 21-year-old Abdul Fattah al-Sharif who was killed execution-style in the head by IOF soldier without any apparent provocation as he laid disarmed and wounded on the ground in Hebron. The video was recorded by B'Tselem, an Israeli NGO that documents human rights violations against Palestinians. 

A good start for swap deal would be if Israel freed all 58 re-arrested prisoners first, allowing all 40 exiled Palestinian prisoners including Hana Shalabi to return home as promised previously by Israel and the immediate release to the two EU citizens Salah Hamouri and Mostapha Awad who are both of Palestinian origin. 

At that juncture, Prime Minister Netanyahu does not have to lie or tell only half the truth about the prisoners at the UN or to the EU Parliament. All what he needs to do is to call Hamas Commander Abu Obeida to make a deal. Because the Prime Minister should know, "it takes two, not three, to tango!"

Israeli prime minister should know, "it takes two, not three, to tango!"

Mahmoud el-Yousseph

Mahmoud el-Yousseph

Mahmoud el-Yousseph is a Retired USAF Veteran from Westerville, Ohio.
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