Palestinians Dismiss Prisoner Release as a "Bribe"
They regard the prisoner release as something Israel was supposed to have done anyway, many years ago. Many will continue to see it as as part of an Israeli-American scheme to extract concessions, and will continue to attack Abbas for "succumbing" to US pressure.
The argument that the release of Palestinian prisoners boosts the standing of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and "moderate" Palestinians and facilitates the resumption of peace talks with Israel is not necessarily true.
Many Palestinians do not see Israel's decision to release more than 100 Palestinians who were imprisoned before the signing of the Oslo Accords two decades ago as a gesture on the part of Israel.
Rather, they regard the Israeli move as something that Israel was supposed to have done anyway, many years ago.
As Saeb Erekat, the chief PLO negotiator, explained: "This Israeli cabinet decision is an overdue step towards the implementation of the Sharm Sheikh agreement of 1999, whereby Israel committed to release all the pre-Oslo prisoners. We welcome this decision 14 years later."
So unlike the US and other Western governments, the Palestinian Authority does not see the release of prisoners as a conciliatory move on the part of the Israeli government.
A demonstration demanding the release of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli prison. (Source: Lisa Nessan)
Moreover, Palestinian Authority representatives do not believe there is a link between the release of prisoners and progress toward achieving peace between Israelis and Palestinians.
Many of the prisoners who are scheduled to be released do not even belong to Abbas's Fatah faction.
It is unrealistic to think, for example, that members of Islamic Jihad or the Marxist Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine who killed Israelis are going to come out of prison and declare their support for the Oslo Accords and the two-state solution.
There is also no guarantee that Fatah prisoners who were incarcerated before the signing of the Oslo Accords will endorse the peace process.
Of course Abbas and Fatah will do their utmost to take advantage of the prisoner release to try and score points on the Palestinian street.
Abbas's aides and loyalists are busy these days preparing a big rally in Ramallah to celebrate the release of the prisoners.
They are keen on presenting the prisoner release as a "huge achievement" by Abbas.
But even if a large number of Palestinians turn out to greet the prisoners, this still does not mean that they support Abbas's decision to resume peace talks with Israel.
Some Palestinians, including Abbas loyalists, see the release of a few dozen prisoners as a "bribe" offered by US Secretary of State John Kerry to the Palestinian Authority president to entice him to return to the talks.
These Palestinians point out that in return for this "bribe," Abbas was forced to drop his two other preconditions for resuming the peace talks: a full cessation of settlement construction and Israeli acceptance of the pre-1967 lines as the basis for a two-state solution.
There are also Palestinians who see the release of about 100 prisoners as a "minor" achievement for Abbas, especially in comparison to Hamas's success in securing the release of more than 1000 inmates in return for kidnapped Israel Defense Forces soldier Gilad Schalit.
"Israel is not doing anyone a favor by releasing 100 prisoners," said a Fatah official in Ramallah. "While we welcome this decision, we do not see how it could help the peace process, particularly in light of the fact that there are more than 5,000 Palestinians who are still in prison."
So while most Palestinians are expected to rejoice over the release of the prisoners, it is naïve to think that they will take to the streets to celebrate the resumption of peace talks with Israel.
The prisoner release could benefit Abbas in the short-term. But in the long-term, many Palestinians will continue to see it as part of an Israeli-American scheme to extract concessions from Abbas and the Palestinian Authority leadership.
After the celebrations over the release of the prisoners end, Palestinians will continue to criticize Abbas for "succumbing" to US pressure and going to the peace talks against the recommendation of the PLO leadership. And of course they will continue to attack Israel for not fulfilling all their demands, including a settlement freeze and the release of the rest of the prisoners.
Reader comments on this item
|Fatah and Hamas are Rejectionists. [208 words]||Ken Kelso||Aug 9, 2013 15:50|
|Prisoner release my hurt peace process [30 words]||Gary Katz||Aug 7, 2013 14:48|
|I couldn't care less about what the Palestinian people think of this release. What matters is the irreversible damage Netanyahu causes to Israel. [60 words]||Jerusalem Jew||Aug 5, 2013 06:36|
|↔ Netanyahu once again lets down the people of Israel [166 words]||Perry Mason||Aug 11, 2013 13:22|
|↔ What is Israel Getting in Return for Releasing the Prisoners? [61 words]||Minnie L. Williams||Aug 20, 2013 15:03|
Comment on this item
by Burak Bekdil
Where Turkey stands today is a perfect example of how, when Islamists -- mild or otherwise -- rule a county, even the most basic liberties are systematically suppressed.
"A climate of fear has emerged in Turkey." — Hasam Kilic, President, Turkey's Constitutional Court.
The prosecutor demanded a heavier penalty for the victim than for her torturers.
The European Commission identified government interference in the judiciary and bans imposed on social media as the major sources of concern regarding Turkey's candidacy for full membership.
by Khaled Abu Toameh
To understand what drives a young Palestinian to carry out such a deadly attack, one needs to look at the statements of Palestinian Authority leaders during the past few weeks.
The anti-Israel campaign of incitement reached its peak with Abbas's speech at the UN a few weeks ago, when he accused Israel of waging a "war of genocide" in the Gaza Strip. Abbas made no reference to Hamas's crimes against both Israelis and Palestinians.
Whatever his motives, it is clear that the man who carried out the most recent attack, was influenced by the messages that Abbas and the Palestinian Authority leadership have been sending their people.
by Richard Kemp
Would General Allen -- or any other general today -- recommend contracting out his country's defenses if it were his country at stake? Of course not.
The Iranian regime remains dedicated to undermining and ultimately destroying the State of Israel. The Islamic State also has Israel in its sights and would certainly use the West Bank as a point from which to attack, if it were open to them.
There can be no two-state solution and no sovereign Palestinian Arab state west of the Jordan, however desirable those things might be. The stark military reality is that Israel cannot withdraw its forces from the West Bank.
Fatah leaders ally themselves with the terrorists of Hamas, and, like Hamas, they continue to reject the every existence of the State of Israel.
If Western leaders actually want to help, they should use all diplomatic and economic means to make it clear to the Palestinians that they will never achieve an independent and sovereign state while they remain set on the destruction of the State of Israel.
by Louis René Beres
The Palestine Liberation Organization [PLO], forerunner of today's Palestinian Authority, was founded in 1964, three years before Israel came into the unintended control of the West Bank and Gaza. What therefore was the PLO planning to "liberate"?
Why does no one expect the Palestinians to cease all deliberate and random violence against Israeli civilians before being considered for admission to statehood?
On June 30, 1922, a joint resolution of both Houses of Congress of the United States endorsed a "Mandate for Palestine," confirming the right of Jews to settle anywhere they chose between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea. This is the core American legacy of support for a Jewish State that President Obama now somehow fails to recall.
A sovereign state of Palestine, as identified by the Arabs -- a Muslim land occupied by "Palestinian" Arabs -- has never existed; not before 1948, and not before 1967. From the start, it was, and continues to be, the Arab states -- not Israel -- that became the core impediment to Palestinian sovereignty.
by Timon Dias
It looks as if this new law is meant to serve as a severe roadblock to parties that would like to dismantle the EU in a democratic and peaceful way from within.
A rather dull semantic trick pro-EU figures usually apply, is calling their opponents "anti-Europe."