Many Canadian media outlets made much of the Palestinian hunger strike, yet failed to remind readers that these are terrorists who devote their energies to the murder of innocent civilians, rather than civil rights activists. Read HRC’s letter today published in the Montreal Gazette for some much-needed context.
Re: “Palestinians clash with Israeli soldiers” (Gazette, Feb. 20)
Instead of breaking out the tissues and treating Samer Issawi, the “Palestinian hunger striker” as a cause celebre, it’s important to point out that he’s not just your average Palestinian. Instead, according to the Israel Prison Service, Issawi was arrested in April 2002 and was sentenced to 26 years for attempted murder, belonging to a terror organization and for possessing weaponry and explosive materials. To be specific, Amir Ofek of the Israeli Embassy in London detailed the grave terrorism offences for which Issawi was convicted of in an October 2011 letter to the British newspaper The Guardian: Ofek noted that Issawi had fired a gun at a civilian vehicle in October 2001, indiscriminately fired an AK47 assault rifle at civilian buses and manufactured and distributed pipe bombs used in attacks on Israeli civilians.
Issawi’s inhumane treatment was his own self-imposed starvation and his efforts to murder innocents. Israel abides by international standards which respects the health and well-being of its detainees. Israel adheres to the Geneva Convention’s protocols for the treatment of prisoners of war. Palestinian prisoners are treated humanely, receive ample access to medical treatment, psychiatry, nutritious food, legal counsel, visits and communication with family, and entertainment via the form of televisions, some of which are in the private cells of these prisoners. Even Marwan Barghouti got his PhD in political science at an Israeli jail. Talk about torture!
In a recent prisoner exchange, Palestinian detainees released from Israeli jails looked robust and healthy-looking, while Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit came our emaciated, and clearly the victim of torture, psychological and perhaps physical by his Hamas captors.
Shalit was held in solitary confinement, with no medical access, visits or communication with his family, IDF officials or the International Red Cross. He didn’t even see the light of day for five years.
If Palestinians want these convicted terrorists released from Israeli jails, by deduction it can be assumed that they’d praise, not condemn, their recidivism. That Palestinians view Issawi and others like him as “heroes” shows the differences in values between Israelis who love and protect life and Palestinian terrorists who target innocents while “martyring” themselves.