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The legal status of Palestinian prisoners and the need to amend the Arab position

October 12, 2021 at 12:51 pm

People gather with signs for a demonstration in support of Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli prisons, outside the offices of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Ramallah in the occupied West Bank on September 14, 2021 [ABBAS MOMANI/AFP via Getty Images]

Israel deals with Palestinians in accordance with its procedures and internal laws, and Israeli judges apply the unjust policies of the Israeli government. It is an illegitimate state and its people and institutions seek to achieve the Zionist project, which is to empty Palestine of its inhabitants in order to gain control of its land.

Israel is governed by two theories; one of which is that Palestine was originally controlled by the Jews and that it is their land but Palestinians expelled the Jews, displaced them and deprived them of their land, and therefore Israel is not occupying but rather is recovering the land from Palestinians.

This has two consequences. The first is that the brutality practiced by Israel against the Palestinians are not crimes, but rather legitimate acts of revenge, and the Zionist gangs that invaded Palestine prior to 1948 have been labelled national liberation movements.

The second result is that the peace behind which Israel is hiding is nothing but “Israeli peace”, but despite this, Egypt and some Arabs, as well as Yasser Arafat, recognised Israel as it is without reservations.

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With regards to Palestinian prisoners, anyone arrested by Israel is not a detainee or a prisoner, but rather a captive, because Israel’s occupation of Palestine is not a military occupation nor is it a protracted occupation, but rather an occupation of extermination in preparation for the confiscation of all the land. As long as the occupation exists in this manner, resistance against it becomes even more legitimate. Moreover, everyone who is arrested is a prisoner of a permanent war between Israel and the indigenous people.

Palestinian prisoners escape from high-security prison - Cartoon [Sabaaneh/Middle East Monitor]

Palestinian prisoners escape from high-security prison – Cartoon [Sabaaneh/Middle East Monitor]

Arresting a Palestinian and criminalising their actions against Israel according to Israeli law is invalid because Israel is an occupying power. The judge must apply international law. Moreover, resistance is legitimate and legal as long as the occupation is an ongoing crime.

A resistance fighter’s legal status is that they are protected under international law as long as they are resisting invasion and occupation. As a result, imprisoned resistance fighters have the right to resist and escape. Their recapture is another crime committed by the invader.

The whole world has been silent about Israel’s actions, so it thought that its actions were legitimate. It also allowed itself to assassinate anyone who threatens the security of its project anywhere because it escaped punishment.

What is required is for the UN to recognise the resistance of the Palestinian people and apply the Geneva Conventions. The concerned authority for this is the Conference of the States Parties, the International Committee of the Red Cross, and the UN Human Rights Council. This issue must be raised in these institutions and in the UN General Assembly.

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What encouraged Israel to commit these crimes is that the Arabs consider the resistance against Israel terrorism, under the pretext that Iran – the main enemy of Israel – supports the resistance after the Arabs fell into Israel’s embrace and of course abandoned the resistance.

While Britain allowed the Jews to take over Palestine until the establishment of Israel, it was Washington that allowed Israel to infiltrate and invade the Arab world.

What also encourage Israel is the official Arab position, which is the demand for a Palestinian state on the June 1967 borders, meaning allowing 80 per cent of Palestine to be occupied by Israel.

Today, I am calling for a change in this position and returning to the Partition Plan between Arabs and Jews. It is unacceptable for the Arabs to reward Israel’s attacks, occupation and invasion of Arab land.

This article first appeared in Arabic in the Palestinian Information Centre on 8 October 2021

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.