Samer al-Issawi is a Palestinian who was arrested in April 2002 and sentenced to 26 years for attempted murder, belonging to a terror organization (Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine), and possession of weapons, arms and explosive materials. His terror activities included firing a gun at Israeli civilians, indiscriminately firing an assault rifle at civilian buses, and manufacturing and distributing pipe bombs used in attacks on Israeli civilians.
Issawi was one of the Palestinian prisoners released in the Gilad Shalit prisoner exchange in October 2011, but was re-arrested in July 2102 for reportedly violating one of the conditions of his release.
Issawi has been on an intermittent hunger strike since shortly after his re-arrest – which has garnered sympathetic coverage from radical NGO’s, the Guardian, and some mainstream news outlets – and is currently being treated at an Israeli hospital.
On March 3, ‘Comment is Free’, consistent with their tradition of providing forums for Islamic extremists, and even leaders of terrorist groups which call for the murder of Jews, published a commentary by Issawi titled ‘We are fighting for all Palestinians‘.
The piece, by Issawi or whomever wrote it on his behalf and successfully submitted it to CiF editors, represents an effort to humanize and normalize such terrorist ‘activism’, casting those who would attack civilians as ordinary, even righteous, political actors.
The piece begins with the suggestion that Issawi’s “story” is really “no different from that of many other Palestinian young people”, and notes that the ‘hunger striking’ convicted terrorist is merely following in the tradition of ‘resistance’ charted by his grandfather and several of his siblings.
After explaining that the hunger strike was launched to protest against Issawi’s “illegal imprisonment”, Issawi or his sponsor, clearly understanding the dynamics of Western guilt, directs a demopathic appeal in the most theatrical and maudlin manner:
My health has deteriorated greatly, but I will continue my hunger strike until victory or martyrdom. This is my last remaining stone to throw at the tyrants and jailers in the face of the racist occupation that humiliates our people.
I draw my strength from all the free people in the world who want an end to the Israeli occupation. My weak heartbeat endures thanks to this solidarity and support; my weak voice gains its strength from voices that are louder, and can penetrate the prison walls.
My battle is not just for my own freedom. My fellow hunger strikers, Ayman, Tarik and Ja’afar, and I are fighting a battle for all Palestinians against the Israeli occupation and its prisons. What I endure is little compared to the sacrifice of Palestinians in Gaza, where thousands have died or been injured as a result of brutal Israeli attacks and an unprecedented and inhuman siege.
Issawi fancies himself selfless, a ‘freedom fighter’, a martyr, an anti-racist doing battle with the dark forces of Zionist tyranny.
Now the political appeal:
However, more support is needed. Israel could not continue its oppression without the support of western governments. These governments, particularly the British, which has a historic responsibility for the tragedy of my people, should impose sanctions on the Israeli regime until it ends the occupation, recognises Palestinian rights, and frees all Palestinian political prisoners.
Issawi is asking “particularly” the British, whose brief felicity to the idea that Jews’ desire to re-establish their historic homeland should be honored renders so many vulnerable to the emotional pull of such political charlatanism, to pay penance by consigning the Jewish state to isolation until such time as all Palestinian “political prisoners” – an expansive definition of which includes those denied the ‘right’ to launch deadly projectiles at innocents – be freed.
Issawi’s ‘jailhouse letter’ at ‘Comment is Free’ represents not only another example of the Guardian Left’s inability to see past even the most risible charades of post-colonialism and anti-imperialism, but also what can only be described as a fetishization towards political violence which continues to make a mockery of every value the true left has historically embraced.