Israel's prisoner exchanges have ruined Israeli deterrence
Terrorists no longer see prison as deterrent; Israeli hostages will be used to free them in exchange deals
Man accused of aiding terrorist fugitives: Hamas will get us out soon through an exchange deal
Murderer of 16 released prematurely in Shalit deal appears on PA TV, to show that sentences are no deterrent
Uncle’s message to imprisoned nephew via PA TV: You’ll get out in a prisoner exchange
A Palestinian accused of aiding the six terrorist prisoners who recently escaped from an Israeli prison expressed a common Palestinian conception of Israeli weakness.
The length of Israeli prison sentences is nothing to fear because Israel will give in to demands to free terrorist prisoners prematurely in exchange for the release of Israeli hostages:
Iyad Jaradat, accused of aiding terrorist fugitives (in Hebrew): “This is the first victory! The second victory [will be] a prisoners and missing persons [exchange] deal soon by our brothers from the Izz A-Din Al-Qassam Brigades (i.e., Hamas’ military wing), God willing. Soon we will come out [of prison], God willing.”
[Official PA TV, The World Far From Politics, Nov. 13, 2021]
Official PA TV helps facilitate this belief by broadcasting interviews with terrorist prisoners who were released early through exchange deals. Both potential terrorists and imprisoned terrorists - who watch PA TV in prison - are thus told that Israeli prison sentences should not be taken seriously nor deter anyone from carrying out terror attacks.
In the following PA TV broadcast, a man states that the premature release of a murderer of 16 Israelis in the Shalit prisoner exchange deal “is a message of hope” for all the imprisoned terrorists. A Fatah official from Gaza similarly explains that prisoners serving life sentences should not believe that their sentences will be upheld, but rather expect to be released early. Additional terrorists who were released through the Shalit deal despite being given long sentences also participated in the program. In the Shalit prisoner exchange deal between the Israeli government and Hamas, Israel released 1,027 Palestinian prisoners in exchange for Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, who had been held hostage by Hamas for more than 5 years (see below).
Fatah Commissioner of the Prisoners, Martyrs, and Wounded in the Gaza Strip Tayseer Al-Bardini: “Your [PA TV] programs reach our prisoners and have a positive influence... Many thanks for gathering us today so we can send a message of hope to our prisoners inside prison... Those who are here today – all of them received heavy punishments – life sentences – and there was no hope for their release. Today, we are outside [of prison] with our families and children, and this is a message that Allah willing all the prisoners will be with us, and they will have a family with children...”
Released prisoner Rami Azarah: “My brother Abd Al-Hadi Ghneim (i.e., murdered 16) was sentenced to 16 life sentences and dozens of additional years. [He] couldn’t imagine even in the best of dreams that today he would be together with us the brothers and his extended and closest family. This is a message of hope for our prisoners inside the occupation’s prisons who were sentenced to dozens of life sentences.”
[Official PA TV, I Call You, May 26, 2020]
The murderer himself, Abd Al-Hadi Ghneim, who was serving 16 life sentences for the murder of 16 passengers on a bus in 1989 but was released prematurely, expressed his belief that imprisoned terrorists who are serving “heavy and long sentences” like himself will be released in a similar way:
Murderer of 16, Abd Al-Hadi Ghneim: “I thank [official] PA TV… We as a group of [released] prisoners hope and pray to Allah that our prisoner brothers who have served long terms will be released, and also those who were sentenced to very heavy and long sentences. The One who released us will release them, Allah willing… Let’s have our brothers inside prison see the [released] prisoners, their friends, how satisfied they are, and hope that Allah will release them.”
PA TV host: “Allah willing.”
[Official PA TV, I Call You, May 26, 2020]
Relatives of other prisoners are convinced that their imprisoned family members will be released before they have served their sentences thanks to prisoner exchanges. Talking to his imprisoned nephew via official PA TV, an uncle assured him an early release - “you’ll get out”:
Official PA TV host: “Do you want to convey something new to him? …
Uncle of prisoner Khamis Al-Arayshi: “We wish him health and a speedy release, Allah willing… We say to him: Many were sentenced to life, sentenced to 25 years, and they got out via prisoner exchanges. Allah willing, you’ll get out.”
[Official PA TV, I Call You, June 22, 2020]
On the recent 10-year anniversary of the Shalit exchange, Palestinian Media Watch exposed the statement by an official from the Islamic Jihad terror organization that he expects terrorist prisoners will be exchanged for Israeli hostages held in Gaza like Shalit:
Islamic Jihad Information Office Director Daoud Shihab: “A great achievement was recorded by the Palestinian resistance in the Gaza Strip. It’s still holding, as it held [former Israeli captive soldier Gilad] Shalit. It’s holding a number of Zionist prisoners and soldiers’ [bodies] today. This is good news for all our people… and all the heroes inside the occupation prisons, for all our people, because freedom is coming and the freedom celebration is coming.”
[Al-Mayadeen TV (Lebanon), Sept. 10, 2021]
“A number of Zionist prisoners and soldiers’ [bodies]” refers to Hamas holding Israeli hostages Avraham Mengistu and Hisham Al-Sayed and the bodies of soldiers Oron Shaul and Hadar Goldin (see note below).
PMW has documented that senior PA and Fatah officials support kidnappings.
Senior PA official and Deputy-Secretary of Fatah's Central Committee Jibril Rajoub, for example, has encouraged more Hamas kidnappings like the kidnapping of Shalit.
Deputy-Secretary of Fatah Central Committee, Jibril Rajoub: "If Hamas wants to kidnap soldiers, let them kidnap soldiers. Let them kidnap. Let them kidnap if they [the Israelis] don't want to release prisoners, but want them as prisoners forever, so [the prisoners] will come out as ghosts and skeletons. The Israelis need to understand. It's clear that kidnapping is the language they understand. On the contrary, we encourage them [Hamas]. When they kidnapped [Gilad] Shalit, we congratulated them. When they concluded the Shalit [exchange] deal, in spite of our having a few reservations about it, we also congratulated them."
[Official PA TV, Jan. 2, 2014]
The PA also brags about past exchange deals. Recently the official PA daily marked the 38-year anniversary of an exchange deal in which Fatah and the PFLP terror organization succeeded pressuring Israel into freeing a total of 5,915 terrorists in two exchange deals:
Official PA daily’s headline: “38 years ago, when the occupier submitted to the largest prisoner exchange deal”
Official PA daily’s report on deal: “The Fatah Movement launched… the largest prisoner exchange deal. In 1983 Israel submitted to its demands to release 4,700 Arab and Palestinian prisoners in exchange for six Israeli prisoners who were caught together with two others, in a heroic operation that was carried out by a group of fighters from the Al-Asifa forces, Fatah’s military wing… Commander Khalil Al-Wazir ‘Abu Jihad’ (i.e., terrorist, responsible for murder of 125) … announced that the [Fatah] leadership [under siege in Tripoli] is in danger, and that it is not responsible for what is liable to happen to the six Zionist soldiers that it captured… This caused Israeli popular pressure on the occupation government... Fatah exploited this to raise the bar of its demands.”
[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Nov. 24, 2021]
In September 1982, eight Israeli soldiers were captured by Fatah terrorists in Bhamadoun, Lebanon. Two of them were handed to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and 6 were held by Fatah. Fatah released the 6 soldiers on Nov. 23, 1983 as part of an exchange deal in which Israel released 4,700 terrorists who were held in Lebanon and 65 terrorists held in Israel. The two handed over to the PFLP were released on May 21, 1985, as part of an exchange deal in which Israel released 1,150 terrorist prisoners.
PMW reported that Fatah TV host and regular columnist for the official PA daily Muwaffaq Matar referred to the eight Israeli hostages as "the hens that would lay golden eggs," and expressed his belief that more “quality operations” – i.e. kidnappings of Israelis -– will happen and will free more terrorists.
The following is additional information on terrorist prisoners and exchange deals mentioned above:
2021 Gilboa Prison escape – 6 Palestinian terrorist prisoners escaped from Israel's Gilboa Prison on Sept. 6, 2021, by widening the hole of the shower drainpipe in the floor of their cell. One terrorist is from Fatah - Zakariya Zubeidi, and the other five are from Islamic Jihad - Ayham Kamamji, Muhammad Ardah, Mahmoud Ardah, Yaqub Qaderi, and Munadil Nafiyat. Four of the terrorists were recaptured after five days: Zubeidi, Ardah, Ardah, and Qaderi. Kamamji and Nafiyat were arrested in Jenin on Sept. 18, 2021 along with two accomplices. Zubeidi was head of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades (Fatah's military wing) in the Jenin area during the PA terror campaign (the second Intifada, 2000-2005), when he oversaw numerous lethal attacks, and he also carried out shooting attacks in 2018-2019. Kamamji participated in the murder of 18-year-old Eliyahu Asheri on June 25, 2006, and planned to blow up a bus using an exploding car. Muhammad Ardah participated in initiating and executing a suicide bombing on bus no. 823 on Nov. 29, 2001, in which 3 people were murdered and many others were wounded. Mahmoud Ardah was involved in numerous attacks; the website of Islamic Jihad’s military wing defined him as the "commander" of the prison escape. Qaderi committed a shooting attack on Sept. 18, 2002 with an accomplice in which Israeli Yosef Ajami was murdered and a foreign worker was wounded. Nafiyat was being held in administrative detention.
The Izz A-Din Al-Qassam Brigades is Hamas’ military wing
Gilad Shalit was an Israeli soldier who was kidnapped and held hostage by Hamas for more than 5 years. During that time, he was denied visits from the International Committee of the Red Cross and was not allowed communication with his family, in violation of his rights under the Geneva Convention. Numerous human rights organizations criticized Hamas for confining Shalit under conditions that were contrary to international humanitarian law. In October 2011, the Israeli government agreed to release 1,027 Palestinian prisoners from Israeli prison in exchange for Shalit.
Abd Al-Hadi Ghneim murdered 16 passengers on a bus in 1989,when he attacked the driver, and forced the bus off a cliff. Ghneim, was serving 16 life sentences, when released in October 2011 as part of the Shalit prisoner exchange deal between Israel and Hamas. Israel released 1,027 Palestinian terrorist prisoners in exchange for Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, who had been held hostage by Hamas for more than 5 years.
Released prisoner Rami Azarah - PMW was unable to determine the nature of his crimes
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.
Headline: “38 years ago, when the occupier submitted to the largest prisoner exchange deal”
“This is the revolution… that the Fatah Movement launched in the largest prisoner exchange deal. In 1983 Israel submitted to its demands to release 4,700 Arab and Palestinian prisoners in exchange for six Israeli prisoners who were caught together with two others, in a heroic operation that was carried out by a group of fighters from the Al-Asifa forces, Fatah’s military wing (see note below -Ed.).
At the time the Fatah leadership was under siege in Tripoli, in northern Lebanon. Commander Khalil Al-Wazir ‘Abu Jihad’ (i.e., terrorist, responsible for murder of 125) issued a statement in which he announced that the leadership is in danger, and that it is not responsible for what is liable to happen to the six Zionist soldiers that it captured.
The following day, Abu Jihad’s statements appeared in the Israeli newspaper headlines. This caused Israeli popular pressure on the occupation government, which forced it to return to negotiations. Fatah exploited this to raise the bar of its demands. It asked to completely close Ansar Prison [in Lebanon], to destroy it, and to hand its keys over to the Palestinian leadership.”
[Official PA daily Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Nov. 24, 2021]
The capture of 8 Israeli soldiers in Lebanon – Eight Israeli soldiers were captured by Fatah terrorists in Bhamadoun, Lebanon on Sept. 4, 1982. Two of them were handed to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and 6 were held by Fatah. Fatah released the 6 soldiers on Nov. 23, 1983 as part of an exchange deal in which Israel released 4,700 terrorists that were held in Lebanon and 65 terrorists held in Israel. The two handed over to the PFLP were released on May 21, 1985, as part of an exchange deal in which Israel released 1,150 terrorist prisoners.
Abu Jihad (Khalil Al-Wazir) - was a founder of Fatah and deputy to Yasser Arafat. He headed the PLO terror organization's military wing and also planned many deadly Fatah terror attacks in the 1960’s - 1980’s. These attacks, in which a total of 125 Israelis were murdered, included the most lethal in Israeli history - the hijacking of a bus and murder of 37 civilians, 12 of them children.
Khamis Al-Arayshi, whose uncle spoke to him via PA TV, is serving a 13-year sentence. PMW was unable to determine the nature of his crimes.