Duplicitous Peace Talks Resume
by Stephen Lendman
Global activists oppose them. They do so for good reason. They’re dead on arrival. They’re fake like all previous times.
They’re ongoing secretly. Doing so conceals manipulated injustice. It diverts attention from what’s important.
Israel’s waging war on Palestine. Out-of-control land theft continues. Dispossessions follow. Thousands are being ethnically cleansed. Doing so makes way for exclusive Jewish development.
It doesn’t matter. Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Zeev Elkin says calls for halting settlement construction are “anti-Semitic.”
The anti-Semitism canard is repeatedly used. It doesn’t wash. It wore thin long ago.
On August 20, Israeli security forces murdered a Palestinian civilian. They did so in Jenin’s refugee camp. They invaded pre-dawn. Three others were wounded. They included two children.
A report said 12 military vehicles arrived at 4:30AM. They patrolled streets. They surrounded Bassam al-Sa’di’s house. He’s a prominent activist. He’s an Islamic Jihad leader. He committed no crimes.
They burst into his home. They did so belligerently. They did it lawlessly. They ransacked it. Children threw stones in response. Soldiers responded with live fire. They used rubber bullets. They fired tear gas canisters and sound bombs.
Majd Mohammed Lahlouh al-Shahla was seriously wounded. Live fire struck him in the chest. Emergency care saved his life. Medical sources said a bullet entered his right armpit. It settled in his heart.
It nearly killed him. He’s lucky to be alive. These type incidents happen with disturbing regularity. They do so during peace talks. They expose the sham process.
Israel’s at war with Palestine. It’s been that way for decades. It’s ongoing while talking peace. It puts a lie to hopes for equitable conflict resolution. Israel deplores what it claims to support.
On the same day, Israel gunboats opened fire on Palestinian fishermen. They’re regularly attacked. Their vessels are damaged. They’re confiscated. Arrests follow.
Fishing is hazardous to health. So is swimming. On August 18, three men were detained for doing so in what Israel called a “suspicious” area.
On August 21, Israeli security forces shot two Palestinian youths. They did so in north Gaza. They opened fire with no provocation. They did it with impunity.
On August 13, Israel released 26 Palestinian prisoners. They’ve been held longterm. They’re political prisoners. They committed no crimes.
Israel promised to release 104 prisoners. Implementation’s in four stages. It’s a political gimmick. A second group will follow. So will others after six and eight months.
Doing so’s at Israel’s discretion. It depends on how peace talks go. It depends on if PA negotiators unconditionally surrender.
It depends on whether Israel keeps its promise. It never did before. It won’t now. This time’s no different.
Palestinians shouldn’t have been imprisoned in the first place. Their announced release ignores thousands of others wrongfully held.
Addameer said Israel’s prisoner release policy belies goodwill. It doesn’t build trust. It’s used strategically. It’s a “tool” used manipulatively.
It’s done to distract from vital core issues and demands. Israel spurns them. Doing so assures conflict. It prevents peace.
Many scheduled for release were imprisoned over 25 years. Some approach the end of their sentences. They’d be released anyway.
Israel controls everything. It decides conditions, timing, criteria, dates and phases. It invents pretexts to rearrest.
Releasing prisoners doesn’t end arbitrary arrests. It doesn’t stop mass detentions. It doesn’t abolish torture. It doesn’t curtail holding dozens administratively uncharged longterm without trials.
Addameer‘s “dedicated to upholding principles of human rights and international law.” It’s appalled at Israel’s punitive policies.
Justice is verboten. It’s systematically denied. “Re-arrests of released prisoners, continued mass arrests, and the policy of phased releases signify the importance of the release of all political prisoners before negotiations. as well as an end to Israel detention policies,” said Addameer.
“Comparative studies of recent peace processes (reveal) the importance and centrality of prisoner releases to the greater negotiations towards a lasting peace.”
In negotiated peace settlements, “amnesties are often a necessary (pre)condition.”
“In apartheid South Africa, the release of all political prisoners was a pre-condition before peace talks between the African National Congress and the National Party government.”
Tokenism doesn’t wash. “Prisoners often play a central role in post-conflict politics. (They’re) instrumental in addressing past grievances and in seeking justice and reconciliation.”
Palestinian and Israeli negotiators haven’t “secured this basic and necessary component to resuming negotiations.”
“In fact, although Israel promise(d) to release prisoners in every return to negotiations since Oslo I in 1993, they often renege(d) partially or completely on the agreements.”
Doing so violates 1969 Vienna Convention of the Law of Treaties provisions. They affirm agreements between two parties are binding. Israel’s a signatory. It systematically spurns international laws. It does so with impunity.
Since Oslo’s 1993 completion, Israel released over 23,000 Palestinians. They called doing so “goodwill gestures.”
Over the same period, they arrested around 86,000 more. They included children, women, the elderly, disabled and students.
Released prisoners aren’t free from rearrest. It happens with disturbing frequency. Freedom for many is short-term. A dangerous release provision states:
“The State of Israel reserves the right to take any means necessary against any of the released prisoners if they commit any terrorist and hostile activities as well as returning them to serve the remainder of their sentence, as will be decided by the relevant authorities.”
Under Military Order No. 1651, Article 186, special military authority may rearrest prisoners based on so-called “secret information.”
It doesn’t exist. It’s fabricated. It doesn’t matter. Palestinians are required to complete their sentences. Many were imprisoned longterm. Some for life.
Rearrest assures losing freedom altogether. They’ll never again live outside prison walls.
At least a dozen prisoners exchanged for Gilat Shalit currently face years more in prison. Some may never get out.
Addameer believes mass arrests will continue throughout peace talks. They’ll do so after they end.
It’s standard Israeli practice. It shows its dark side. It puts a lie to good faith negotiations.
Mass arrests and detentions continued during Oslo talks. In 1994, Israel released 970 Palestinians.
All served most of their sentences. None faced serious charges. They were political prisoners. So are thousands of others. Their crime is wanting to live free in Palestine. It’s wanting to do so in peace.
In the two-week April 15 – 30, 1994 period, 2,700 Palestinians were arrested. Around 200 were administratively. They were arbitrarily detained. They were uncharged. They were denied trials. They committed no crimes.
“The lack of policy change during these negotiations allows for Israel to continue its occupation and detain and imprison Palestinians without any accountability to the peace process or international law,” said Addameer.
Phased releases are duplicitous. They’re tactical. They give Israel lots of wiggle room. It takes full advantage.
It happens every time during talks. So does reneging on pledges. Promises are made. They’re systematically broken. It’s standard Israeli practice.
Israeli “goodwill” is none at all. Its current agreement raises disturbing questions. Why were women, children and ill prisoners excluded?
Why were hunger strikers? Some abstained for months. They’re in grave condition. They may perish short-term.
Letting them die constitutes murder. Denying them immediate release is cruel and unusual punishment.
It’s a crime against humanity. It doesn’t matter. Israel does what it wants. It does so with impunity. Talks go on anyway. They reveal tragedy and travesty.
They exclude Palestine’s legitimate government. Longtime Israeli collaborators represent them. Doing so assures betrayal.
It happened each time before. Israel gets whatever it wants. Clever language masks it. Palestinians are denied all rights.
Their Israeli-approved leaders serve one role. They enforce occupation harshness. They’ve done so since Oslo. They’ll do it throughout talks. They’ll do it after they end.
Failure’s guaranteed. It assures continued injustice. It continues conflict. It solidifies occupation harshness. It denies peace. It’s a ruse. It’s a convenient illusion.
Writer Rachel Neeman sees little chance for peace. “Israelis don’t know what (it) is,” she says. They’re conditioned to wars. It’s “the norm.”
Talk is cheap. “(I)t doesn’t cost anything.” It buys time. It lets settlements expand.
Negotiations aren’t serious. Israelis can’t imagine any other people rights than their own. Why should they? Talks yield whatever they want. They’re all take and no give. It happens every time.
So does one war after another. It’s just a matter of time. It’s Israel’s way of life. It’s a warrior state. Peace is fundamentally abhorrent. There’s been none for decades. Expect no change going forward. Complicity with Washington assures it.
A Final Comment
On August 15, Israel arrested three prominent activists. They support justice for Palestinian women political prisoners.
Israeli police detained Leena Jawabreh, Linan Abu Ghoulmeh and Myassar Atyani. They were visiting Woroud Qasem. She’s a former political prisoner. She’s under house arrest.
Ghoulmeh’s a former political prisoner. In 2009, she was released. In mid-2010, she was rearrested. She was held until October 2011. She was released as part the Gilad Shalit prisoner exchange.
Atyani’s a longtime leading prisoner rights activist. She’s repeatedly harassed. Throughout the 1980s and 90s, she was arrested numerous times.
Jawabreh served four years in prison. In July 2008, she was released. She helped organize pro-prisoner actions. She expressed solidarity with hunger strikers.
All three are in Hasharon Prison. On August 19, a hearing was held. Ghoulmeh’s detention was extended seven days. So was Atyani’s. Jawabreh’s was extended four days.
Israel targets the best of Palestinian activists. Doing the right thing risks imprisonment. Thousands of political prisoners languish in Israel’s gulag.
Justice is systematically denied. Police states operate that way. Israel’s one of the worst.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
His new book is titled “Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity.”
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
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