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PA celebrates released murderers
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Palestinian Minister of Prisoners' Affairs:
"The release of 199 prisoners has crushed Israel's conditions [for release]."
 
The release of 199 Palestinian terrorist prisoners, which Israel intended as a goodwill gesture to promote peace with the Palestinian Authority, appears to have had an adverse effect. It's been perceived and portrayed as Israeli weakness, led to the glorification of the released terrorist murderers and heightened expectations for the release of more than 3,400 convicted terrorist murderers in Israeli jails.
 
Following are excerpts from the Palestinian Authority media on four recurring themes:
  1. The terrorist release is presented as Israeli weakness and submission, and not as a gesture of goodwill. It has been interpreted as a sign of the breakdown of Israeli demands in any future negotiations.
  2. The terrorist murderers have been elevated to the status of Palestinian icons.
  3. The release is seen as a precedent for the future release of all Palestinian terrorists held in Israeli jails, including 3,450 terrorists convicted of murder.
  4. All the terrorists, including the murderers, have been glorified as heroes.
 
1. The prisoner release is presented as an Israeli weakness.
 
Palestinian Minister of Prisoners' Affairs, Ashraf al-Ajrami, said, "The release of 199 prisoners today is a landmark that has crushed Israel's conditions [for release]... the most significant development has been the release of several prisoners... whom Israel could have continued to detain under the pretext that they aided the killing of Israelis. This points to a breakthrough precedent and the toppling of Israel's conditions regarding 3,450 other prisoners whom Israel places in the same category [i.e. convicted of murder]. "
[ Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Aug. 25, 2008]
 
"Hajj Mahmoud Issa Amaira, who is nearing 60, said: 'The entire people should welcome Al-Ataba and Abu Ali Yatta [released terrorist murderers] today, for they are proof to us that prison walls do not close forever on anyone'... Bethlehem resident al-Uzzah, who was herself released from prison a year ago, said, 'There is no comparison to our celebration today, following the release of Said Al-Ataba and Abu Ali Yatta. Israel's so-called red lines are imaginary and a thing of the past.'"
[Al-Ayyam, Aug. 26, 2008]
 
"Hussein al-Jamal, a board member of the PFLP, came out yesterday with a media statement that the Palestinian people's ongoing struggle has forced the Occupation to fundamentally revise Israel's approach to the Palestinian and Arab prisoners... The release of a group of some of the most senior prisoners serves as proof that Israel's conditions for the release of prisoners have undergone critical changes."
[Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Aug. 26, 2008]
 
Dr. Najat Abu Baker, a Fatah member of Palestinian Parliament: "I am certain that there will be a deal for the release of more than 1,600 prisoners. I hope that this deal will overcome all of Israel's demands and topple the conditions set by Israel. I say that we have grasped this issue, and have reached out to those singled out and to our fighting brethren who have sat in prison for more than 20 years."
[PA TV, Aug. 25, 2008]
 
"Thabet, one of the released prisoners and a Fatah leader, said... 'The release of his fellows from prison... constitutes the breakdown of Israeli conditions.'"
 
Bilal al-Shahsir, chair of the Palestinian National Council: "The Palestinian leadership has managed to secure a Palestinian victory for the Palestinian people by breaking down Israeli conditions and by forcing Israel to abandon the idea it has attempted to entrench according to which some prisoners have blood on their hands [i.e. sentenced to life for murder]."
[PA TV, Aug. 25, 2008]
 
2. The terrorist murderers have been elevated to the status of Palestinian icons.
 
Said Al-Ataba is responsible for the suicide-bombing attacks in the Petah Tikva market, Shuk HaCarmel Market and buses, in which dozens of Israelis were wounded and Tzilla Galili was murdered.
 
Dr. Najat Abu Baker, a Fatah member of the Palestinian Parliament: "Today we have added to the Guinness book of records a leader, an icon of freedom, and a guide to all humanity, the released prisoner Said Al-Ataba. Welcome back, O brilliant commander and jihad fighter."
[PA TV, Aug. 25, 2008]
 
"Our brave prisoners... and the man who stands at their head, the most senior fighter sentenced to life in prison, Said Al-Ataba."
[Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Aug. 25, 2008]
 
"...Al-Ataba is always compared to other famous political prisoners who have fought to defend their homeland and aspired to free them, such as the Black South African leader, Nelson Mandela, who spent 29 years in prison under the racist regime which has since passed from this world." 
[Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Aug. 25, 2008]
 
Mohammed Abu Ali Yatta is a senior member of Fatah who was sentenced to two life-term sentences for murdering an Israeli reserve soldier in Hebron and a fellow Palestinian convict he suspected of aiding Israel.
 
Mahmoud Abbas announced during the prisoners' welcoming ceremony: "... This is a day when our heart rejoices... to see one of the greatest icons of our struggle, a man who has spent decades in prison - our brother Abu Ali Yatta."
[Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Aug. 26, 2008]
 
3. The release is seen as a precedent for the future release of all Palestinian terrorists held in Israeli jails, including 3,450 terrorists convicted of murder.
 
Palestinian Minister for Prisoner Affairs, Ashraf al-Ajrami: "... This is only the starting point and we will continue to release all of the prisoners. I commend the Palestinian leadership sitting in prison, and most of all, our brother the combatant Marwan Barghouti [serving more than five life sentences for murders]. I send them a message that we will soon see them among us: our brother Marwan, our brother Ahmad Sa'adat [serving 30 years in prison for heading the terrorist organization PFLP - Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine], and our brother Aziz Dweik [Hamas Chair of the Palestinian Parliament]..."
[PA TV, Aug. 25, 2008]
 
"The Arab Liberation Front... interpreted this move as the breakdown of Zionist conditions; a move that has paved the way to the release of prisoners sentenced for life."
[Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Aug. 26, 2008]
 
Dr. Najat Abu Baker, a Fatah member of the Palestinian Parliament: "...We have 100 to 125 prisoners who have served their sentences for over 25 years. I have a message for these prisoners, many of whom suffer from chronic illnesses: Be patient..."
[PA TV, Aug. 25, 2008]
 
PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas: "There will not be peace, unless [the Israeli] prisons are emptied."
[Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Aug. 26, 2008]
 
"Thabet, one of the released prisoners and a Fatah leader, said... this is a good starting point for the release of all the prisoners, male and female, and the emptying out of Israeli prisons."
[Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Aug. 26, 2008]
 
4. All the terrorists, including the murderers, have been glorified as heroes.
 
Mahmoud Abbas announced during a welcoming ceremony for the released prisoners: "These brave released prisoners ... symbols of steadfastness, symbols of our homeland... are among our nation's heroes."
[Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Aug. 26, 2008]
 
"The Fatah council of the Yattah municipality congratulates... the release from prison of a group of our heroic prisoners and hopes that all of our brave imprisoned fighters will be released in the near future."
[Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Aug. 25, 2008]


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