[Ppnews] Addameer: No peace agreement until political prisoners released
Political Prisoner News
ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Tue Dec 22 13:22:22 EST 2009
Addameer: No peace agreement until political prisoners released
Report, Addameer, 22 December 2009
Palestinian political prisoners must be released, categories of
"security detainees" must be cancelled and "political status" must be
granted if peace between Israel and the Palestinians is to be achieved.
"Reaching the 'No-Peace' Agreement: The Role of Palestinian Prisoner
Releases in Permanent Status Negotiations," a briefing paper from
Addameer, examines Israel's failure to comply with the bilateral
agreements regarding the release of Palestinian political prisoners
held in Israeli detention for their involvement in activities related
to the ongoing belligerent Israeli occupation of Palestinian
territory. It concludes that prisoner releases can be instrumental in
achieving a lasting peace, but only if prisoners themselves are
recognized as political partners in the process.
More than 16 years after the beginning of the "Oslo Peace Process,"
Israel still holds 330 Palestinian political prisoners who were
arrested before 13 September 1993, the cutoff date for arrests that
determined which prisoners would be eligible for inclusion in
subsequent releases. Approximately 95 of these political prisoners
have spent more than 20 consecutive years in Israeli prisons.
Today, Israel holds a total of more than 7,120 Palestinian detainees.
What's more, large numbers of Palestinians are still arrested by
Israel on a weekly basis. The Israeli military judicial system
imposed on the occupied territory, criminalizes every aspect of
Palestinian life and continues to de-politicize Palestinian national
aspirations. In policy and in practice, Palestinian activities
against the military occupation are never deemed "political" by
Israel -- and acts that would or could constitute "political
offenses" have never been defined.
In a negotiated peace settlement, amnesties are often a necessary
condition for putting an end to a conflict. Prisoners often play a
central role in post-conflict politics and can be instrumental in
addressing past grievances and in seeking justice and reconciliation.
Israeli authorities however, have remained unwilling to explore a
shift in discourse regarding the identification of "political
offenses" or to even acknowledge Palestinian political motivations.
To the contrary, those whom in any other post-conflict situation
would become partners in peace are still considered "security,"
rather than "political" detainees. Moreover, Israeli legislation and
court decisions have long enabled the State to hold detainees as
"bargaining chips," held for their potential value in hostage or
political negotiations, disregarding their status as political actors
and denying them fundamental human rights protections.
Addameer contends that Israel has systematically failed to act in
accordance with many of its obligations under the Oslo Accords and
related Israeli-Palestinian peace agreements, particularly in regards
to prisoner releases. Instead, Israel treats the issue as a public
relations opportunity and a means to achieve political gains. Working
within such constraints, the Palestinian leadership has been forced
to negotiate with the Israeli government over the numbers of
prisoners included in releases, and has failed to develop a strategy
to challenge the military courts system in the Occupied Palestinian
Territories (OPT) that defines all Palestinian resistance to Israeli
occupation as "security offenses." Action is therefore needed at both
domestic and international levels to ensure Israeli respect for its
obligations towards Palestinian political prisoners under the
agreements it has signed. Such pressure must also focus on compliance
with requirements under international law with regards to the ongoing
arrest, interrogation, trial and detention of thousands of
Palestinian political actors in the OPT.
Should permanent status negotiations resume, Addameer calls on the
international community, and all actors involved in the
Israeli-Palestinian peace process, to put all the necessary pressure
on the government of Israel to:
* Release all Palestinian and Arab political prisoners arrested
before 13 September 1993, in accordance with previous agreements;
* Release all Palestinian prisoners arrested by Israel in
relation to their activities opposing the occupation without any
pre-conditions, thus canceling previously defined categories of
prisoners in Oslo II and effectively creating one category of
* Create a joint committee to define "political offenses" and set
a timeline for future prisoner releases; and,
* Draft all necessary provisions to prevent future arbitrary
arrests of Palestinians in the occupied Palestinian territory and
their unlawful transfer to prisons inside Israel.
Most importantly, Addameer calls on the Palestine Liberation
Organization to ensure that resolving the issue of Palestinian
prisoners is set as a condition precedent for the re-launch of
permanent status negotiations and remains a top priority throughout
any renewed peace process.
the briefing paper [PDF]
522 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94110
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
More information about the PPnews