Indy posts, then deletes, reference to Palestinian terrorists as ‘political prisoners’

h/t Gidon and Christopher

We recently posted about a grossly dishonest characterization in The Independent of the 104 Palestinian prisoners who will reportedly be released by Israel as a pre-negotiation concession to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. The prisoners, held since, before Oslo, were described by the Indy’s Jerusalem correspondent Alistair Dawber as “political prisoners”, despite the fact that (as CAMERA conclusively demonstrated in April) all are incarcerated for committing violent acts – most for terrorist related violence including murder and attempted murder. 

We contacted Indy editors shortly after the post, and, in addition to providing the data we secured from the Justice Ministry on the prisoners and their crimes, noted that even the Guardian (following our complaint) had corrected a story in April which originally contained the false description of the prisoners as “political prisoners”.  Though the Indy has yet to respond to our complaint, there was recently an indication that such a correction may be forthcoming.  

A July 28th story by Dawber on the most recent news concerning Israel’s decision to release the prisoners seems to have initially referred to the Palestinians as “political prisoners”, a term used in the headline and accompanying text – but which was subsequently revised.

Here’s what you get if you Google the original story:

pol p

Now here’s a cached page of the article as it first appeared:


The opening passage also includes the term “political prisoners”.

Israel’s cabinet voted today to release more than 100 Palestinian political prisoners after hours of debate, paving the way for the first direct peacetalks between the two sides for three years.

However, here’s the headline as it now appears:

indy 2

Note that the term “political prisoners” is gone.

Further, the opening passage also omits the term “political prisoners”

More than a hundred Palestinian prisoners are to be released after Israel’s cabinet voted to authorise the move today, paving the way for the first direct peace talks between the two sides for three years.

We’re not sure what prompted the change, but are certainly more hopeful that they’ll correct Dawber’s previous piece, and, more importantly, will instruct their contributors not to mislead readers by portraying homicidal extremists who target innocent civilians as something akin to political dissidents or ‘prisoners of conscience’. 

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