Indy’s Alistair Dawber refers to Palestinian terrorists as “Political Prisoners”

On April 10th we commented on a Guardian report by Harriet Sherwood about efforts by John Kerry to restart Israeli-Palestinian peace talks which included several passages about concessions demanded by Mahmoud Abbas before he’d agree to resume negotiations, including the following:

[Abbas] also wants 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 noted at the time, many Palestinians regard even those compatriots held in Israeli jails who committed acts of terrorist brutality against Jews as “political prisoners”, and Sherwood’s prose served to legitimize this extremist Palestinian narrative.

Some time after our post, however, we were able to obtain detailed information on the pre-Oslo prisoners from the Israeli Justice Ministry, data which included details of the crimes, the dates of conviction and other relevant facts on every Palestinian prisoner in question.  The Justice Ministry’s information proved conclusively that all of the prisoners were indeed common criminals convicted of murder and (mostly) terrorists who murdered or attempted to murder Israeli civilians, soldiers, or foreign tourists.  This data was collated, translated and published for the first time exclusively at CAMERA in early June.

Some time after providing the Guardian with proof that the Palestinians in question can not fairly be referred to as “political prisoners” the paper’s editors agreed to revise the passage, and noted that the pre-Oslo prisoners are merely described as “political prisoners” by the Palestinians.

Today, however, another UK paper made the same serious error.

Alistair Dawber, Jerusalem correspondent for The Independent, penned a report today on recent concessions Israel reportedly offered to the Palestinians in order to restart peace talks, with the following headline:


Here are the first two paragraphs of Dawber’s report:

Details of the latest Middle East peace plan began to emerge today, hours after John Kerry announced that he had brokered an agreement that is likely to lead to fresh talks between the Israelis and Palestinians.

The most significant concession appears to be a promise by Israel to release a number of high-ranking Palestinian political prisoners, many of whom have been behind bars for decades. Prisoner releases have been a longstanding demand of the Palestinian leadership.

Whilst you can view the complete CAMERA list of the prisoners here, to provide a brief understanding of the absurdity of using the term “political prisoners” in this context, here are brief descriptions of the crimes committed by only a few of the prisoners Dawber alludes to:

  • Stabbed to death a civilian woman who was walking along the street; attempted to cause the death of three additional civilians.
  • Shot and murdered a soldier. In addition, beat to death a Palestinian civilian who was suspected of collaborating with the authorities. Also killed 4 Palestinian civilians whom he suspected of being collaborators
  • Threw an incendiary bomb at a passenger bus and caused the death of a mother, her three children, and a soldier who attempted to rescue them.
  • Beat an elderly man from the Sharon region with a hoe, thus causing his death.
  • Along with his accomplice, used a knife to stab to death an elderly man living in Kadima.
  • As a condition of being accepted to a terrorist organization and along with his accomplice, used an ax to murder a Jewish civilian who worked with them.
  • Participated in laying an explosive device in Mahaneh Yehudah Market in Jerusalem, causing the death of one civilian and the injury of nine. In addition, participated in an additional attempted attack in Mahaneh Yehudah and plotted to lay an explosive device at Carmel Market.
  • Participated in lynching an IDF soldier. Afterward threw rocks at the soldier, poured fuel on his vehicle, and set it on fire, with the soldier inside it. He did not express remorse for his deeds.
  • Oversaw a cell that committed 5 attacks on civilian buses and caused the injury of 16 passengers. In addition, on his orders the cell murdered three civilians on two occasions. Also, personally participated in the murder of two civilians.
  • Participated in the abduction, interrogation through torture, and murder/killing of 4 Palestinian residents suspected of collaborating with the Israeli authorities

(You can see a partial list of the victims here.)

As we argued previously, to refer to violent Palestinian criminals and terrorists (many of whom committed cruel and sadistic crimes against innocent Israelis) as “political prisoners” represents an egregious corruption of the term – propaganda of terror apologists legitimized by those in the media ideologically sympathetic to the Palestinian cause.

(Update: We just learned that Alistair Dawber will soon become the Indy’s foreign editor) 

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