A video piece at Sky News Arabia – a joint venture between the UK-based Sky News and Abu Dhabi Media Investment Corporation – highlighted official Palestinian Authority statistics on Palestinian prisoners/detainees/captives* in Israel.
Two of those prisoners highlighted, Nael Barghouthi and Kareem Younes, were presented respectively as the “longest serving political prisoner in the world” (in prison for 39 years) and the “longest serving Palestinian prisoner” (in prison for 35 years.)
However, the piece failed to mention the crimes of Barghouthi and Younes – an omission that could leave the impression their punishments were excessive – or, in the case of Barghouthi, that he was imprisoned merely for expressing his “political” beliefs. The truth is that both prisoners were convicted of murder.
- Barghouthi was convicted in the killing of Israeli bus driver Mordechai Yekuel in 1978, rendering the characterisation of him as a “political prisoner” absurd.
- Younes was convicted in the kidnapping and killing of Israeli soldier Avraham Bromberg in 1980.
Another problem is the video’s presentation of Younes as a prisoner of “the Occupation”. We’re told (at 01:28) that Younes “enters his 36th year in the Occupation’s prisons”.
First, Younes is an Arab citizen of Israel, not a West Bank Palestinian. And, he murdered Bromberg at a location within the Green Line. So, in what possible sense can he be referred to as a prisoner of “the occupation”? Evidently, according to Sky News Arabia, even Arab citizens of Israel are being “occupied” – representing the adoption of the radical terminology associated with terrorist groups, like Hamas, who view any Jewish presence in the region as an illegal “occupation”.
*The Arabic word “Aseer” could mean both captive and prisoner, and is often translated by Palestinian officials to “detainee”. This is unlike the word “Sajeen” that only means prisoner. “Aseer” is much more common in the Palestinian discourse than the second – In the video it is mentioned 13 times (plus one in the name of the Palestinian commission providing the statistics), whilst “Sajeen” is mentioned only once (with regards to Younes, although the writing also calls him “Aseer”) .
Research and writing by CAMERA Arabic. Edited by UK Media Watch.