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Saturday, July 21, 2007


Israel releases 255 hostages

Or, in the language of the corporate media, "prisoners." "Hostages" is a better term since the vast majority have never been charged with or convicted of any crime, and of the ones that have, many are guilty of "crimes" like belonging to a group that opposes Israeli occupation.

As has happened on more than one occasion, McClatchy (formerly Knight-Ridder) reporter Dion Nissenbaum provides some facts you won't find anywhere else:

There are still nearly 10,000 Palestinians in Israeli prisons. Of the 250 freed Friday, two-thirds had been scheduled to be released within the next 30 months. Only 10 had more than six years on their sentences. And, since Israel announced its intention to free these 250 prisoners, its army has arrested or detained at least 475 more, according to United Nations statistics.
The Washington Post, AP, and Reuters all mention the nearly 10,000 prisoners, but not the rest of the information. The New York Times does say that "those freed had an average of three years left on their sentences," but doesn't note that Israel has recently arrested nearly twice as many Palestinians as they released.

One of the released prisoners Abdel Rahim Malouh, 61, described by the Times as "deputy chief of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, which killed an Israeli cabinet minister six years ago." They neglect to mention that the murder of Rehavam Ze'evi was an act of retaliation for the extrajudicial murder (a.k.a. "targeted assassination") of PFLP leader Abu Ali Mustafa with two rockets fired by an Israeli helicopter while he was sitting at his desk in his office. If you read the sentence from the Times carefully, you'll note that the released Malouh was only guilty by association; there was no evidence he was involved with the death of Zeevi. Then again, there's no actual evidence against the vast majority of people being held by the U.S. in Guantanamo, either.

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