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Wednesday, 27 September 2006

Was the 2004 prisoner release the motivation for the 2006 kidnappings?

The recent kidnappings by Hamas and Hezbollah of Israeli soldiers as barter for jailed terrorists were not the first. In 2004, Israel released more than 1,000 jailed terrorists in exchange for Israelis kidnapped by Hezbollah.

In 2004 the Palestinians expressed support for the Hezbollah and saw the kidnapping as a positive precedent. They responded with statements that kidnappings leading to release of prisoners would be their modus operandi for the release of more prisoners in the future.

[See statements below by clicking on Mr Bagel.]

Given these statements and their effect on the Palestinian population,it is certainly plausible that the recent kidnappings that led to the war were a direct result of Israel's actions in 2004, which led Palestinians to conclude that Israel would continue to free terrorists to gain the release of kidnapped hostages.

The overwhelming Palestinian support for the current kidnappings indicates how deeply entrenched among Palestinians is the assumption that Israel will acquiesce to the prisoner exchange demands.

The three Israeli soldiers kidnapped in 2000
Sgt. Adi Avitan, Staff Sgt. Benyamin Avraham and Staff Sgt. Omar Sawaid
were the subjects of many Protests and appeals to the U.N.

The following quotes from the PMW archives are Palestinian responses immediately after the exchange of terrorists for kidnapped Israelis in January 2004, and subsequent responses throughout the year:

"Fatah's military branch organized a civilian and military procession yesterday through the streets of Rafah. This event was held in appreciation and gratitude for the efforts Hizbullah made for the release of Arab and Palestinian prisoners from Israel jails as part of the prisoner exchange deal with Israel. In a public statement by the Abu Al-Rish Brigades, Fatah's military wing emphasized the need to follow Hezbollah's example in order to achieve the release of all prisoners and detainees."
[Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, January 29, 2004]

"PM Ahmad Qurei: The detainees issue is at the top of the [Palestinian] government's list of priorities. Their release is a condition to any possible deal. Protests in all areas. "The Al Aqsa Martyr Brigades" called on its members to kidnap Israelis in order to pressure Israel on the prisoners' issue ..."
[Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, August 16, 2004]

"The Islamic Jihad movement pointed out - in a public statement that was published on its behalf and was distributed during the procession - that it has the right to do any action for the prisoners' release.... Mushir Al-Masri, Hamas spokesman, said that 'Hamas' threats to kidnap soldiers still exist, and the movement will do everything in its power for the sake of the prisoners' release ...'"
[Al-Ayyam, August 17, 2004]

"The Hamas movement organized a mass rally yesterday in the refugee camp in Jabaliya ... in a sign of solidarity with the prisoners and the detainees ... Many of the family members of the prisoners and the Shahids [Martyrs] participated in the rally ... A senior member in the Hamas movement, Dr. Nizar Rayan ... called on all resistance factions to act for the kidnapping of Israeli soldiers in order to exchange them with our brave prisoners ..."
[Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, August 21, 2004]

"The Al-Quds Brigades, Islamic Jihad's military wing, and the Al Aqsa Martyr Brigades, which belong to the Fatah movement, threatened to kidnap Israeli settlers and soldiers for the release of the prisoners in Israeli detention centers... The Al Quds Brigades and the Al Aqsa Martyr Brigades said during a joint press conference in the tent of a sit-down strike in the square of the unknown soldier: '... we have decided to increase our efforts to kidnap Zionist soldiers and settlers... we will not back down and we will not change our minds about that purpose, in no way, and we will do everything in our power in order to achieve it.' They mentioned several previous kidnapping attempts within the last three months, which have failed ...They added... that directions were given... to all military chains to begin operations for kidnapping Israeli settlers and soldiers to save the prisoners."
[Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, August 27,2004]

BB: There's no doubt in my mind the disproportionate exchange of prisoners further encouraged the Palestinians and Hezbollah. It was a tragic mistake in negotiations and we shall bear its brunt for many years to come.

We're not dealing with people who have any respect for decency, the Bald Face lies told to Eliyahu Asheri's parents should be a testament to this. Each day we allow the negotiations to be prolonged each day our position weakens.

The cease fire was brought about by a commitment to release the 3 I.D.F. soldiers, not a commitment to negotiate for them first. Israel should stop being held to ransom. Israel should stop being dictated to and start dictating the immediate release of the Prisoners.

The court case of the Hamas criminals is an absolute farce, it should stop until the 3 soldiers are released.

Demand there Kidnapped I.D.F. soldiers release or negate the cease fire.

Sign the petition to free the soldiers click the link or the picture at the top

Sign the Petition click this link

Palestinian Media Watch:
Was 2004 prisoner release the motivation for 2006 kidnappings?
[by Itamar Marcus and Barbara Crook]

References for further reading:

Israel MFA: Israelis Held by the Hizbullah - Oct 2000-Jan 2004