Fair Policy, Fair Discussion

July 8, 2010

Proposed Prisoner Exchange: Reading the Fine Print

Filed under: American attitudes,Netanyahu government's policy,West Bank — quinnconnors @ 8:40 am

The imprisonment of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit by Palestinian forces in the Gaza Strip is a tragic event.  But even more upsetting than his situation is how simplistically his captivity is portrayed by major American media outlets.

Recently, calls have increased for the release of Gilad Shalit and PM Netanyahu has agreed on the release of 1,000 Palestinian prisoners in exchange for Shalit’s release. Answering such a proposal, especially given the seemingly generous terms for the Palestinians, appears a no-brainer.   But American news stories about this exchange leave out some crucial details which make the release of these 1,000 imprisoned Palestinian men, women, and children rather unpalatable.

According to regional media sources, such as Haaretz and the Jerusalem Post, Netanyahu’s offer has two conditions attached.  The first is that dangerous terrorists would not be released, a precaution against future Palestinian attacks on Israelis.  The second condition would disallow the released Palestinians from entering the West Bank, even if that is where they and their families live.  Instead, according to Netanyahu, the Palestinians would  go to the over-crowded Gaza Strip or Tunisia.  In agreeing to this proposal, an exchange of prisoners would happily reunite one man with his family and in fact exile or resettle 1,000 other people.

Israel’s offer thus counters what many Palestinians desire, reunion with loved ones, as these 1,000 men and women would be sent to far-away locations.  Such resettlement, to the Gaza Strip, Tunisia or other foreign locations, would provide many barriers to the possibility of any future reunion.

When it comes to the Middle East, and especially Israel-Palestine, the situation is never clear-cut and simple.  The American media should thus read through the fine print and at least attempt to portray the complicating circumstances in each situation instead of omitting crucial details that unfairly skew events.



  1. always full of tricks…like i have said, a good lawyer gets the worst murders off…if you were to catch an isreali p.m. with his hand in your pocket, he’ll convince ya there his pants…a win win for the likudniks.. carl scala

    Comment by carl, queens,ny — July 8, 2010 @ 10:18 am | Reply

  2. A person could logically ask “Why is Israel willing to release so many prisoners for only one person in return? Aren’t prisoners in prison for a reason that should prevent them from being released?”

    Good questions, don’t you think? Could the answer be that Israel deliberately stocks up prisoners that are no real threat and that might not even have a good reason to be in prison, might even be detained unlawfully, simply for the purpose of having a hand to play on swaps such as the one for Gilad Shalit?

    Allow me to quote from the Goldstone Report. Here is part of paragraph 1445

    “The Israeli ‘Internment of Unlawful Combatants Law 2002’ provides for the indefinite detention of ‘foreign’ nationals…In its submission to the United Nations Committee Against Torture, the ‘United Against Torture’ coalition of NGOs concludes that ‘an examination of its provisions suggests that the goal behind the law is to allow Israel to hold suspects as hostages who can be used as bargaining chips in future negotiations.’ ”

    Food for thought

    Comment by Clif Brown — July 11, 2010 @ 1:51 pm | Reply

  3. I believe the number of imprisoned Palestinians by the State of Israel-government is said closer as reported by Palestinians to 6,000 men, women, and children.
    Perrhaps it is from more secret prisons such as Facility-1391 involved in torture ending at times in death that the 1,000 number in this article may have some validity.
    The question asked in the article, being security need of the nation State of Israel, is what part of the 78-80% of occupied Palestine is being referred to.

    Comment by DeWayne — October 11, 2010 @ 5:49 pm | Reply

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