The following is a first person account (posted previously at this blog) by an Israeli paramedic who, in 2011, arrived on the scene at the Israeli community of Itamar shortly after five members of the Fogel family, including three children, were savagely murdered:
The first thing I saw when we entered the first room was 4-year-old [Elad] on the carpet with three stab wounds in his left chest, and, as I thought at the time he was still alive, left another medic to attend to him.
I then entered the second room and found the 11-year-old[Yoav] who had been butchered, his throat was sliced so deep that his head was nearly detached from the body.
Then we entered the third room where we found the mother [Ruth] dead, lying on floor in pool of blood with multiple stab wounds. On a bed in same room, lying dead with single stab wound in the neck, was the father [Udi]. The three-month old baby [Hadas] was underneath the father. The baby was killed with one stab wound to the skull.
I then returned to the first room, where I thought Elad was still alive, and soon realized that he, too, was dead.
The carpet was soaked in blood.
The two Palestinians who pled guilty to the gruesome murder, Amjad Awad and his cousin Hakim Awad (who were affiliated with the PFLP terror group),expressed no remorse for their crimes at the hearing where they were sentenced to life in prison.
Amjad and Awad are among the roughly 4,200 or so ‘security prisoners’ – those convicted of crimes, usually violent in nature, motivated by nationalistic reasons – in Israeli jails. Among these security prisoners are Palestinians who committed terrorist attacks where Israelis were killed or maimed; Palestinians who were on their way to suicide missions and were apprehended before the attack; attack planners; and those responsible for preparing the explosives, etc.
However, there is, evidently, another word some use when characterizing the Itamar murderers and others with Israeli blood on their hands: Political Prisoners.
This term was employed recently by ‘Comment is Free’ contributor Martin Linton. Linton, you may recall, is a former British MP (and chair of Labour Friends of Palestine) who warned in 2010 that “there are long tentacles of Israel in [the UK] who are funding election campaigns and putting money into the British political system for their own ends.”
Linton’s ‘CiF’ op-ed (‘Release Marwan Barghouti. He can be Palestine’s Nelson Mandela‘, March 28), which contained praise for the terrorist mastermind so fawning it could be mistaken for a parody, included this passage:
An international campaign has been launched to free Barghouti and the 4,227 Palestinian political prisoners in Israeli jails. It is supported by every party in the Palestinian parliament, with Fatah and Hamas united for once, and by the overwhelming majority of Palestinians.
This is of course an egregious distortion of the widely accepted definition of the term “political prisoner“, which normally refers to ‘a person imprisoned for their political beliefs or actions’, and mirrors the language used by the most radical pro-Palestinian voices.
Finally, it should be noted that back in May we prompted a correction at the Guardian over a similarly false claim, in a report by Harriet Sherwood referring to the 123 ‘Pre-Oslo Palestinian Prisoners‘ – all of whom were convicted of murder, attempted murder or being an accomplice to murder – as “political prisoners“.
Though Sherwood’s article was a straight news story, and Linton’s an op-ed, the Press Complaints Commission has been clear that newspaper editors are required to ensure that even op-eds avoid claims which are false or misleading.
Linton didn’t merely advance an offensive opinion, he stated as fact something that is categorically untrue.