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The Release Of Palestinian 'Security Prisoners'

 

Intro

There are over 6,000 Palestinian 'security prisoners' held in Israeli jails. See http://www.btselem.org/statistics/detainees_and_prisoners for a precise breakdown. Israel characterizes a 'security prisoner' as any individual who has a nationalist animus for committing a crime or offence. The offences in question range from outright murder to incitement to being a link in a planning chain – or, very minor violations like suspect trespassing.

The release of all prisoners is hugely important to the Palestinian public, and Palestinians will not embrace – nor adhere to – any peace plan that fall short of their expectations on the issue.

Complicating matters is that most Palestinians take a Third World view of conflict, regarding as fair game both combatants and non-combatants of the enemy. And view both sexes and all age groups as valid targets.

But Palestinian attitudes may have changed somewhat over the last decade; after the horrific murder of an Israeli family in the settlement of Itamar in 2011, most of the Palestinians from the nearby villages openly condemned – on camera – the murder of the family's young children. A PSPCR poll confirmed the changed perception: http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/poll-one-third-of-palestinians-support-itamar-massacre-1.354477. Readers may be shocked that 32% of Palestinians still supported such wanton murder – but compare that with attitudes in 2002, when polls showed that 80% of the Palestinian publiuc supported suicide bombings at Israeli bus-stops, discos, cafes, etc.

Lest anyone think these rightwing settlements lack comparable Jewish terrorist sentiments: http://coteret.com/2009/12/15/us-tax-dollars-fund-rabbi-who-sanctioned-killing-gentile-babies-and-incited-torching-of-yasuf-mosque/

If Palestinian attitudes are out of sync with Western norms, Israeli attitudes towards the nationalist crimes of Palestinians are equally far off center. Israelis routinely use a marker "Jewish blood on their hands" as the primary sin, regardless of who the Jewish victims are. Which means, a Palestinian who targets and manages to kill an Israeli soldier is seen as more heinous than a Palestinian who targets, but fails to kill, children in a kindergarten. After all, the former has "blood on his hands."

This same lack of balance finds its expression in prisoner swaps. What Western society would remotely contemplate releasing 1000 security prisoners, several of whom were doing time for grave and gruesome offences, in exchange for the bones of three of its servicemen?

In other words, we have an aberrant situation in both the Palestinian and Israeli camps regarding prisoner release. The Palestinians expect the murderers of Israeli children to be released along with the slayers of Israeli soldiers – while the Israelis are prepared to pay any price, including the release of Palestinian child-killers, to secure certain goals of high emotional value.

Thus, the Bermigo Plan component that deals with prisoner release is not being polled – because why torpedo the plan with too harsh a requirement for Palestinians, when Israel, because of the country's weird orientation vis-à-vis nationalist murderers, might indeed comply with an over-the-top Palestinian demand on freeing ALL prisoners, regardless of their transgressions.

The Bermigo Plan component on Palestinian prisoner release – that is accordingly being shelved unless needed down the line – was originally designed as follows.

The Bermigo Package Component On The Release Of The Palestinian Security Prisoners:

Palestinian prisoners held by Israel would be classified according to the standards that international human-rights groups use, similar to the Geneva Conventions. There would be 4 classifications:

(a) Classification 1:

These are Palestinian fighters who targeted Israeli soldiers only and tried to avoid casualties among innocent civilians.Such fighters, regarded as prisoners of war by the Geneva Convention, would be released by Israel 3 months after the plan had begun.

(b) Classification 2:

These are fighters who primarily targeted Israeli soldiers, but made little attempt to avoid killing innocent civilians. Although the Geneva Convention strongly criticizes such behavior, such fighters are also regarded as prisoners of war. They, too, would be released by Israel, but 10 months after the plan had begun.

(c) Classification 3:

These are militants who targeted any Israeli they happened to come across. Neither the Geneva Convention, nor international-rights groups, accept this type of resistance as legitimate; all reject the claim these are prisoners of war. Despite this, Palestinians involved with terror indirectly only would be released by Israel, no later than 20 months after the plan had begun.

Class 3 prisoners directly involved with terror – either in planning or execution – would not be released. However, some would complete their jail sentences in Palestine, enabling their families to visit them. The Western professionals would organize their transfer to a Palestinian jail, and act as guarantor that these prisoners serve out appropriate sentences. “Appropriate” would be determined by the EU standard applied to Europeans convicted of similar offences.

(d) Classification 4:

These are prisoners who deliberately looked to kill Israelis unconnected to the conflict. For example, young girls in a disco, children at school, old people at religious celebrations, etc. The Geneva Convention and every other human-rights body in the world regards such behavior as dishonorable murder, not as legitimate resistance. These prisoners would serve out full jail terms in Israel. Israel would use the same gauge she used for Jewish terrorists like Ami Popper, the Jewish Underground, etc.

Three months after the start of the plan, Israel would no longer be permitted to hold Palestinians in jail without trial. In addition, the newly elected Palestinian government could ask a Western professional team to investigate any case where charges against a prisoner were contested. Israel would agree to have this neutral team of Western representatives examine the charges – in a closed Israeli court, if necessary. The conclusion of the Western team would be binding on both sides.