- In mid-October, Netanyahu's cabinet agreed to free 1,027
Palestinian political prisoners in two waves (including 27 women and nearly
300 children) in return for Hamas releasing Gilad Shalit after over five
years in captivity.
- Wave one is completed, freeing 477 Palestinians. In two
months, phase two will release another 550. According to terms, 203 will
be deported, 40 exiled overseas, and 163 expelled to Gaza.
- Currently, Israel still holds over 5,000 detainees. As
a result of torture, medical neglect, or assassinations, over 200 died
martyrs in captivity. Another 302 are called "veteran detainees,"
serving 17 years or longer.
- Another 136 serving 20 years or more are called "Deans
of Detainees." "Generals of Patience" is a term applied
to prisoners incarcerated over 25 years. As of October, they number 41.
- On October 18, Ma'an News reported Hamas leader Mousa
Abu Marzouq saying Israel agreed to lift Gaza's siege in return for releasing
- He "told Palestine TV that Israel had used Shalit
as a pretext to blockade Gaza but there (were) 'unofficial agreements'
to end it during talks with a German mediator."
- According to Abu Marzouq, "This was confirmed in
the last negotiations."
- For years it's been known that security wasn't why Israel
imposed it, despite disingenuous public statements. Israel blockaded Gaza
in mid-2006, then hardened its siege a year later.
- Despite assurances of ending it now, Israel may renege
by reinterpreting terms. Many times it says one thing and does another.
Its promises are hollow and disingenuous.
- In 2010, it promised a 10-month construction moratorium
but never stopped building settlements. On October 21, Haaretz said Palestinians
confirmed Israel's offer to partially halt construction in return for resuming
- Why believe what Israel reneged on before. Duplicity
defines decades of dealings with Palestinians. Nothing now will change.
- Two Steps Forward, One Step Back
- Israel can't be trusted. Its promises lack credibility
and honor. Despite releasing 447 prisoners and promising another 550, new
arrests are made regularly. More on that below.
- On October 20, Electronic Intifada (EI) bylined Shahd
Abusalama saying, "My husband was kidnapped by Israel," explaining
19 years of forced separation. In 1993, soldiers violently arrested him
at night. It's standard Israeli state terror, including against children.
- Another EI story featured a mother prevented from visiting
her son after release from prison. She waited 10 years to hug him. Deported
to Gaza, he can't come home. Chances for her to visit Gaza are slim.
- Dozens of other stories replicate theirs. They're compounded
by loved ones incarcerated years under hellish conditions for the crime
of wanting freedom on their own land in their own country. Israel calls
- On October 21, Ma'an News said Israeli police detained
14 Palestinians Thursday (including three women and several Jews) while
demonstrating peacefully at Hasharon prison for all incarcerated Palestinians
to be freed.
- They're political prisoners, not criminals. Israel called
their protest illegal for acting without official authorization. Muhammad
Kananeh told Ma'an that police dispersed dozens of protesters forcefully.
- Hurriyat (Freedom) Society and activist youths organized
the protest. Nearly always, Israeli security forces attack demonstrators
violently with batons, tear gas, rubber bullets, and occasionally live
- Israel is a rogue terror state. It's occupied Palestine
lawlessly for decades, violating international law with impunity. Besieged
Gazans have especially suffered under what's best described as slow-motion
- On October 20, Palestine Telegraph headlined, "Settlers,
soldiers attack Palestinian schools," saying:
- Right-wing settlers and Israeli soldiers attacked "students
and teachers in Qurtuba and Susiya schools in Hebron."
- Qurtuba's principal, Ibtisam Al-Jondi, said Anat Cohen
settlement extremists attacked students as they left school. Deputy principal
Feryal Abu Haykal and several Palestinians intervened to help.
- Soldiers arrested her and another Palestine. Al-Jondi
said soldiers prevented teachers and students from entering the schools
"via the usual road, under the pretext of a decision by" Israeli
- Settlers followed students home and attacked them. Susiya
school was targeted, forcing teachers and students out, "according
to the Popular Committee Coordinator in Yatta near Hebron."
- He said soldiers and civil administration officials "stormed
the school and beat several students, then forced" them and teachers
- Attacks on both schools were unprovoked. Regular incidents
like these traumatize young students, especially because nowhere is Occupied
- In its October 20, weekly report on Israeli human rights
violations, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) continued its
regular accounts of Israeli state terror, saying:
- Peaceful West Bank protesters were attacked violently.
Dozens of civilians and human rights activists "suffered from tear
gas inhalation. In Hebron, six Palestinians, including three children,
- Israeli soldiers conducted 47 lawless incursions into
Palestinian communities, an average of seven a day. Twelve Palestinians
were arrested, including two children.
- At a West Bank checkpoint, another three Palestinians
were arrested, including a child. Israel treats children young as 10 like
adults, terrorizing them with threats of torture and other forms of ill-treatment.
In detention, they're often beaten and threatened with sexual abuse.
- Israel plans a new settlement between Jerusalem and Bethlehem.
About 950 dunums of Palestinian land will be stolen to build it. Owners
who resist will be arrested, detained, and brutalized in prison.
- Soldiers also razed 30 dunums of agricultural land east
of Salfit. In addition, they attacked Palestinian civilians and property
in Hebron. Settlers terrorized farmers harvesting olives in the West Bank.
- Soldiers assaulted peaceful demonstrators against Israel's
Separation Wall. Dozens of Palestinians and human rights activists suffered
from tear gas inhalation.
- On October 16, soldiers attacked civilians, including
school children at a peaceful sit-in against Israel prohibiting teachers
and students from going to Hebron's Cordoba School. Six civilians, including
three children, were injured.
- A Final Comment
- On October 20, Palestine Chronicle raised concerns about
164 children in Israeli custody. Sentenced or detained for alleged stone-throwing,
it's unclear if they'll be included in wave two.
- "UNICEF calls on the Israeli Government to release
Palestinian child detainees so that they can be reunited with their families,"
said UNICEF OPT representative Jean Gough.
- "As stated in the Convention on the Rights of the
Child, the detention of children should be used only as a measure of last
resort and for the shortest appropriate period of time."
- Annually, about 700 Palestinian children aged 12 - 17
are arrested, interrogated, detained and tried in Israeli military courts.
Most are pronounced guilty by accusation. Few committed crimes.
- UNICEF said 7,000 Palestinian children went through Israel's
penal system in the past decade. Most were traumatized. None deserved being
- Many times earlier Israeli released Palestinian detainees
only to arrest many more. No one is safe under occupation. Middle-of-the-night
arrests and detention threaten everyone.
- Children especially are affected. Many never recover
from their ordeal. Pay less attention to what Israel says and focus on
what it does daily. Palestinians call it brutalizing state terror.
- They don't exaggerate or deserve being treated lawlessly
out of sight and mind from Western media that ignore them.
- Why else would most want nothing less than liberation
after 63 traumatizing years. Hopefully, an end to their ordeal draws near.
- Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at
- Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and
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