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Father of terrorist claims imprisoned terrorists are “soldiers” according to Geneva Convention

Munir Zgheir, father of terrorist Ashraf Zgheir: “We were surprised that he was a fighter and that he was one of the soldiers ending the occupation. [This is what] we call all our prisoners, and they are considered soldiers ending the occupation. They have a right to fight against the occupation in their land according to Article 81 of the Geneva Convention, which gives them authority to fight in their land. Therefore, they are actually soldiers… I say to the entire world: Our guys in prison, our prisoners, including my sons, are the best people in the land. They are a school for virtues, a school for giving, a school for altruism.”

Ashraf Zgheir – Palestinian terrorist and Hamas member who drove suicide bomber Iyad Raddad to Tel Aviv’s Allenby Street on Sept. 19, 2002, where Raddad boarded a bus and detonated a bomb, murdering 6 people and wounding 84 others. Zgheir used his Israeli residency status to be able to move around freely and select targets. On Oct. 11, 2002, Zgheir attempted to facilitate another bombing, driving suicide bomber Rafat Mouqadi to the Tel Aviv promenade where he instructed him to detonate a bomb at a restaurant. Israeli security guards thwarted the attack and arrested Mouqadi. Two days later, Zgheir received instructions from Hamas to carry out another bombing, but he was arrested before he could do so. Zgheir is serving 6 life sentences.

It is unclear what provision the father was talking about when the father mentioned “Article 81 of the Geneva Convention." Article 81 of the Fourth Geneva Convention (GCIV), deals only with the treatment of “internees” and the support of their dependents. Article 81 applies only to “internees” and not to terrorists who are standing trial, convicted, or released from prison or to the families of dead terrorists. The only “internees” held by Israel are Palestinian terrorists held in administrative detention in accordance with Article 78 of GCIV, and Israel fulfills all its obligations vis-a-vis these “internees.” Article 81 of the Third Geneva Convention (GCIII) refers to preferential treatment for the representatives of prisoners of war. The Palestinian terrorist prisoners are not prisoners of war. Neither Article 81 of GCIV nor Article 81 of GCIII gives anyone "authority to fight.".

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