The Guardian refers to Palestinian terrorist Samer Issawi as a “political prisoner”.

Last week, we posted about an April 9 story by Harriet Sherwood which reported on recent efforts by US Secretary of State John Kerry to restart Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.

Sherwood’s story included  details about some of the concessions demanded by PA President Mahmoud Abbas before he will agree to resume negotiations with Israel, and included the following sentence:

The Palestinians also want the release of 123 political prisoners who have been in jail since before the Oslo accords were signed almost 20 years ago, and for Israel to present a map showing proposed borders. [emphasis added]

As we demonstrated, however, most of the 123 Palestinians she alluded to (whose release Abbas has been demanding since last year), were convicted for their involvement in deadly terror attacks. Sherwood’s characterization of the 123 Palestinians as “political prisoners” – suggesting that they were imprisoned merely for their beliefs – is erroneous.  We also observed that Sherwood was evoking the Palestinian narrative which insists that even “compatriots convicted of deadly terrorist acts [are] political prisoners and fighters for the Palestinian cause”.

Sherwood’s latest, ‘EU urged to secure Palestinian prisoner’s release from Israeli jail‘, April 17, again advances this misleading narrative in a report on recent demands by Saeb Erekat that Palestinian prisoner Samer Issawi – who’s been on a hunger strike to protest his detention – should be released.

Here’s the photo the Guardian used to illustrate the story:

Samer Issawi protest

Here’s the Guardian’s photo caption:

Protesters in London hold up posters calling for freedom of Palestinian political prisoners including hunger striker Samer Issawi.

Issawi – who was freed by Israel in 2011 as part of the Gilad Shalit prisoner exchange, but recently re-arrested for violating his release conditions – was originally sentenced to 26 years in prison for his involvement in a series of violent terror attacks, including indiscriminately firing an assault rifle at public buses, and manufacturing and distributing pipe bombs used in attacks on Israeli civilians.

A “political prisoner” is a person ‘imprisoned for their political beliefs or actions’.

No reasonable person can characterize Issawi’s crimes in a manner which fits that definition.

It is indeed that simple. 

Written By
More from Adam Levick