PA Mufti’s veiled call to kidnap Israelis
Mufti: “Work with all means that will lead to… prisoner exchange deals”
During official PA TV’s religious program Fatwa, the PA’s Grand Mufti, Muhammad Hussein called on Palestinians to use “all means” to free Palestinian prisoners – i.e., imprisoned terrorists and murderers. Not only is the term “all means” a Palestinian euphemism for violence and terror, but the Mufti continued with a statement that can certainly be understood by Palestinians as a call to kidnap Israelis to bring about “prisoner exchange deals.”
Specifically the Mufti mentioned the Jibril Exchange of 1985 in which Israel released 1,150 Palestinian prisoners, including terrorist murderers, in exchange for three Israeli soldiers who had been taken hostage by the PFLP. He added that other deals with “large exchanges of prisoners between us and the occupation” had also taken place, thereby reminding Palestinians of the more recent exchange of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit for 1,027 terrorist prisoners:
PA Mufti Muhammad Hussein: “There is no doubt that the utmost duty of us all together in the PA, in the society, and everywhere is to work with all means that will lead us to releasing our prisoners and setting them free… As for example what was implemented or exchanged, and this happened more than once in the prisoner exchange deals. The most known was the 1985 [Jibril Exchange], and before and after it were deals that included large exchanges of prisoners between us and the occupation.”
[Official PA TV, Fatwa, Oct. 20, 2021]
Earlier this year was the 10-year anniversary of the release of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit from Hamas’ captivity in exchange for 1,027 terrorist prisoners. In that context, Palestinian Media Watch recently reported that an Islamic Jihad official predicted that “freedom is coming” for “all the heroes inside the occupation’s prisons,” because Hamas is “still holding a number of Zionist prisoners and soldiers’ [bodies]” – a reference to Israeli hostages Avraham Mengistu and Hisham Al-Sayed and the bodies of soldiers Oron Shaul and Hadar Goldin that are still held by Hamas.
Muhammad Hussein also serves as Deputy Secretary-General and acting Secretary-General of the PLO Popular National Conference of Jerusalem.
The terms “all means,” “all means of resistance,” “all forms,” are used by PA leaders to include using all types of violence, including deadly terror against Israeli civilians such as stabbings and shootings, as well as throwing rocks and Molotov Cocktails.
The Jibril Exchange was between the Israeli government and the terror organization the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine - General Command (PFLP- GC), led by Ahmed Jibril. On May 21, 1985, Israel released 1,150 Palestinian terrorist prisoners, including murderers, in exchange for three Israeli soldiers who had been taken hostage by the PFLP.
Israelis Avraham Mengistu and Hisham Al-Sayed separately crossed into the Gaza Strip in 2014 and 2015 respectively, and Hamas indirectly has acknowledged holding them. Both men suffer from mental illnesses. Regardless, Hamas and Islamic Jihad view them as valuable bargaining chips in their efforts to pressure Israel to free more terrorists. Likewise, Hamas is holding the bodies of Israeli soldiers Oron Shaul and Hadar Goldin, who were both killed in the Gaza Strip during Israel's Operation Protective Edge in 2014.
Gaza War 2014 / Operation Protective Edge – In June 2014, Hamas escalated its hostilities and attacks against Israel - including the firing of numerous rockets at Israel. Israel responded with Operation Protective Edge, which aimed at destroying Hamas' ability to launch rockets and its terror infrastructure in general, which included its building of cross-border tunnels for the purpose of terror attacks and kidnappings. The war began on July 7, 2014, when the Israeli government ordered the Israeli army to launch an aerial operation against Hamas and other terrorist organizations in the Gaza Strip, and continued until Aug. 26, 2014, when an open-ended ceasefire was declared. During the war, 32 Hamas cross-border tunnels built for the purpose of terror attacks were destroyed, and two thirds of Hamas' rocket arsenal was used up or destroyed. Despite claims by Hamas and others of Israel using disproportionate force and of an extreme amount of civilian casualties, Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey, stated on Nov. 6, 2014, that Israel had gone to “extraordinary lengths to limit collateral damage and prevent civilian casualties in the Gaza conflict.”