PA daily publishes letter by prisoner who was not included in Shalit exchange
Statement in official PA daily written by Karim Younes, an Israeli Arab prisoner who killed an Israeli soldier in 1981 and was given a life sentence. Younes was not included in the prisoner exchange deal and expresses his reservations concerning the agreement. Younes claims that he was arrested for kidnapping a soldier for the purposes of releasing prisoners, but was not included in previous deals which did not involve prisoners serving life sentences, nor the 'prisoners of '48' (i.e., Arab Israeli prisoners) and of Jerusalem:
Headline: "Statement by most veteran of the Palestinian and Arab prisoners, Karim Younes"
b. "I, like more than 100 veteran prisoners, was surprised and shocked that our names were not included in the present deal.
c. Based on the position of my leadership, I emphasize that this deal and its publicized details were not raised with the leadership of the prisoners. Its details were not known, and we, including the Hamas leaders in prison, heard of them only via the media.
d. After reviewing the list, I noticed that this is a clearly factional list which, in contrast to previous [prisoner] exchange deals, did not take into account all [groups] of the national spectrum. Clearly a severe injustice has been done, and there is a lack of justice and a lack of fairness towards prisoners from the Fatah movement, and I am one of them. The deal included only 43 Fatah prisoners, and most of them were placed [on the list of those to be released] by the Popular Resistance Committees. Meanwhile, Fatah prisoners comprise 60% of all prisoners, numbering more than 2,500…
f. More than 52 prisoners included in this deal were released with only a few years remaining of their prison term; for some there remained less than a year. In addition, there are more than 100 new prisoners who were released, while backs were turned on more than 100 veteran prisoners because they belonged to Fatah.
g. I spoke personally and directly with the Hamas leadership, at the highest levels, and they promised and committed themselves that no prisoner who had served more than 20 years would remain [in prison], and that all the veteran prisoners from the '48 territories [i.e., Arab Israelis] would be released. This did not happen.
h. The concession of national symbols and leaders, first and foremost the fighter leader Marwan Barghouti and the leader Ahmad Sa'adat, is submission to Israeli dictates."
Note: Marwan Barghouti is serving five life sentences for orchestrating terror attacks against Israeli civilians. When arrested in 2002, he headed Fatah's military wing, the Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades. After he was convicted and imprisoned, he was re-elected member of the Palestinian Authority parliament.
Ahmad Sa'adat is serving a 30-year sentence for heading the PFLP terror organization. A song at a PFLP event also praised him for planning the assassination of Israeli Minister of Tourism Rehavam Ze'evi in 2001, but he has not been tried for this crime.