Cross-Cultural Understanding

News, October 2007


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Editorial Note: The following news reports are summaries from original sources. They may also include corrections of Arabic names and political terminology. Comments are in parentheses.


87 Palestinian Political Prisoners out of 12,000 Released from Israeli occupation Prisons!  

4 Citizens Arrested in WB

RAMALLAH, October 2, 2007 (WAFA)-

Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) kidnapped on Tuesday morning 4 citizens in the West Bank (WB) city of west Ramallah, security sources said.

They told WAFA that massive of Israeli occupation soldiers stormed Beit Loqya village, west Ramallah, conducted a house-to-house search campaign and arrested four citizens , leading them into an unknown location.

Peres delays release of prisoners from Gaza 

Date: 01 / 10 / 2007 Time: 10:56

Bethlehem Ma'an  

Israeli President Shimon Peres refused to ratify the release of 30 of the 87 Palestinian political prisoners from Israeli occupation prisons due to be released from Israeli jails on time Monday afternoon, claiming he was too busy.

This means that none of the twenty-nine prisoners from the Gaza Strip will be released on Monday. Celebration quickly turned to a mix of anger and sorrow at the Erez Crossing, between the Gaza Strip and Israel, where families had been eagerly awaiting the return of their loved ones since the early hours of the morning.

The 30 prisoners are now scheduled to be released Tuesday. Peres approved their release late on Monday.

According to Israeli law their release must be ratified by the president because they were tried in civilian Israeli courts.

Peres claimed that signing the documents for the prisoners from the West Bank who were tried in civil Israeli courts is legal, yet signing for their Gazan counterparts involves more legal measures.

Israeli journalists and observers have expressed their astonishment at Peres' stance, particularly as he is known as "a man of peace" after winning the Nobel Peace Prize with Yasser Arafat and Yitzhak Rabin in 1994.

Peres' refusal to sign the necessary documents comes despite the fact that the Israeli government had ratified the list a week ago, and Israeli websites had published the date of the prisoners' release.

Fifty seven prisoners from the West Bank are still expected to be set free at Betunia military checkpoint in western Ramallah in the central West Bank.

The release of the prisoners is a good will gesture to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas before his meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. The two leaders are expected to try to narrow the gap between both sides prior to the US-sponsored autumn peace conference.

***Last Updated 20:05 Jerusalem Time***

29 prisoners released from Israeli jails cross into Gaza 

Date: 02 / 10 / 2007 Time: 11:34

Gaza Ma'an  

The 29 Palestinian political prisoners from the Gaza Strip who were due to be released yesterday along with 57 others from the West Bank are finally free.

They were taken to the Erez Crossing between Israel and the Gaza Strip in an armoured bus from Ketziot prison in southern Israel and then crossed on foot into the Gaza Strip.

Israeli occupation forces had been firing heavily on the area surrounding the Erez crossing in the northern Gaza Strip, which prevented many families from going to the crossing to receive their loved ones, eyewitnesses told Ma'an's reporter.

The families' long wait yesterday ended in disappointment when they were told that Israeli President, Shimon Peres had refused to sign the necessary documents for the prisoners' release. However he suddenly signed the document on Monday evening without any explanation.

Most of the 87 freed prisoners are from the Fatah bloc, with a very small number from the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.

The release of the prisoners is a good will gesture to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas before his meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. The two leaders are expected to try to narrow the gap between both sides prior to the US-sponsored autumn peace conference.

Israeli forces fire on crowd at Erez crossing, injuring child 

Date: 01 / 10 / 2007 Time: 16:26

Gaza Ma'an  

A thirteen-year-old Palestinian boy was shot and wounded after Israeli occupation forces opened fire on a crowd of Palestinians waiting at Erez border crossing for their relatives to be released from Israeli prisons on Monday.

The panicked crowed fled the gunfire.

Eyewitnesses said that Muhammad Al-Madhun was taken to Kamal Udwan Hospital in Beit Hanoun for treatment. His condition is not known.

Israeli officials delayed the scheduled release of 30 prisoners to Gaza. 57 newly-freed prisoners arrived in the West Bank.

Prisoners' rights group reports abuses at Huwwara detention center 

Date: 01 / 10 / 2007 Time: 14:50

Nablus Ma'an  

Lwayers at the Nafha Association for political prisoners' rights said Monday that Israeli forces at the Huwwara detention center, near the West Bank city of Nablus, forced their Palestinian detainees into the yard, abusing and insulting them.

The guards "scattered their clothes and beds in a provocative manner."

Detainees at Huwwara also complained that they are beaten and humiliated by the Israeli soldiers, and are not supplied with adequate food and clothing.

Nafha applauded the Red Cross' attempts to deliver clothes to the detainees. The detention center's administration allowed a limited amount into the facility.

Comment on the news:

This is just a public relations stunt because of the small number of Palestinian political prisoners released. There are about 12,000 Palestinian political prisoners in the Israeli occupation prisons. They were abducted by Israeli occupation forces in the streets, at checkpoints, and from their homes without any jurisdiction to do so. 

On daily basis, including today, Israeli occupation forces kidnap Palestinians and add them to the list of political prisoners, making a mockery of any gesture like the above one.

A true goodwill gesture is ending the Israeli occupation of Palestine and releasing all Palestinian political prisoners, at least thousands of them right now, particularly elected members of the Palestinian Parliament.


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