Information about Samer al-Issawi not provided by the Guardian

A Feb. 19 blurb in the Guardian’s ongoing series of posts in their ‘Middle East Live’ blog noted that “Hundreds of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails declared a one-day fast today in solidarity with four inmates whose hunger strike has fueled anti-Israel protests in the occupied West Bank”.

The story then quoted Reuters, thus:

Samer al-Issawi, one of the four Palestinians who have been on hunger strike, has been refusing food, intermittently, for more than 200 days. His family says his health has deteriorated sharply.

The prisoners’ campaign for better conditions and against detention without trial has touched off violent protests over the past several weeks outside an Israeli military prison and in West Bank towns.

In the Gaza Strip, the Islamic Jihad group said a truce with Israel that ended eight days of fighting in November could unravel if any hunger striker died. 

The Palestinian Prisoners Club, which looks after the welfare of inmates and their families, said 800 prisoners were taking part in the day-long fast. 

Additionally, a Feb. 15 edition of the Guardian’s ‘Picture Desk Live’ included a photo of a Palestinian in eastern Jerusalem detained while throwing stones at Israeli police during a protest against the imprisonment of Issawi. Here’s the caption they used:

A Palestinian with marks of pepper spray on his face is detained by Israeli border policemen who suspect him of throwing stones during clashes at a protest in the East Jerusalem neighbourhood of Issawiya. Clashes broke out as residents protested calling for the release of Samer al-Issawi, a hunger-striking Palestinian prisoner.

As Issawi prepares to become the latest Palestinian cause celebre (see Richard Millett’s report on a pro-Issawi protest in Trafalgar Square in London) here’s some interesting information about the prisoner recently reported by Tamar Sternthal at CAMERA.

Who is Samer Issawi and why had he been imprisoned?

According to the Israel Prison Service, Samer Issawi of Issawiyeh, Jerusalem was arrested in April 2002 and sentenced to 26 years for attempted murder, belonging to an unrecognized (terror) organization, military training, and possession of weapons, arms and explosive materials. Issawi (identification number 037274735) was one of the 477 Palestinian prisoners released in the first stage of the Gilad Shalit prisoner exchange in October 2011. (The Prison Service lists him as Samir Tariq Ahmad Muhammad. Multiple names are not uncommon among Palestinians. The date of his arrest, birth, his sentence term and the terms of his release are consistent with the details provided about Samer Issawi in media reports.)

Here’s additional information on Issawi’s terror activities that Capt. Eytan Buchman, an IDF spokesman, provided to CAMERA:

Issawi was convicted of multiple crimes which included five counts of attempted murder. This included four shootings, between July 2001 and February 2002, in which Issawi and his accomplices fired on police cars and buses travelling between Ma’ale Adumim and Jerusalem. In one attack, a policeman was injured and required surgery. On October 30, 2001, Issawi, together with an accomplice, fired at two students walking from the Hebrew University campus to their car in a nearby parking lot. In another case, Issawi provided guns and explosive devices to a terror squad, which then fired on a bus. Finally, in December 2001, Issawi ordered an attack on security personnel at Hebrew University, providing a terror squad with a pistol and a pipe bomb. Two of the squad members tracked security personnel but didn’t carry out the attack.

Issawi was re-arrested in July 2102 for reportedly violating one of the conditions of his release.

Sternthal also cited an October 2011 letter to the editor of the Guardian by Amir Ofek of the Israeli embassy in London which criticized the paper for failing to provide information about Issawi’s terror activities in a photo of him they used (in the print edition of the paper).

Ofek wrote the following:

Your centrefold (19 October) carries a double-spread photograph of released prisoner Samer Tareq al-Issawi in a cheering crowd, after being freed under the terms of the deal to release Gilad Shalit. It is important to point out the grave terrorism offences of which Al-Issawi was convicted, including firing a gun at a civilian vehicle in October 2001, indiscriminately firing an AK47 assault rifle at civilian buses, and manufacturing and distributing pipe bombs used in attacks on Israeli civilians.

Since it’s likely that the Guardian (and groups like the Palestinian Prisoners Club) will continue to characterize Issawi as a Palestinian martyr, it’s important to keep in mind that the “hunger striker” is not a ‘civil rights activist’ but, rather, a convicted terrorist who devoted his time attempting to murder Israeli civilians.

21 replies »

  1. Great post! Thanks!
    On a somewhat off-topic note:
    Mr. Levick, have you noticed how the past 20-30 messages have all been “Nat”-‘s?
    I have every reason to suspect his trolling here is part of a coordinated operation.
    Furthermore, have you observed that he’s now taken to trolling on weeks-old, sometimes month-old threads, preventing any chance for people to respond to his drivel?
    Seriously, can’t you at least pre-moderate him?
    This is getting rather annoying…

    • It is more than trolling, s/he has the soul of a nazi.
      Since last year s/he keeps on lying and faking, repeating the same lines again and again, defending terrorism, defaming and denouncing Jews, demonizing Israel.
      And now this little nazi misuse our relatives, murdered in the Holocaust, for his ends, even maintains these lies, after being Libanese, Israeli and so on.
      I would like to have his/her clear name to kick the shit out of this little pervert.

      • Fritz, 1 – you’re lying, you know very well that I support the two-state solution so that both Israelis and Palestinians can live in peace; 2 – Please don’t insult my family; 3 – you’ll be happy to learn that I’ve decided to stop participating in this forum, as I refuse to be associated with people like you, who misuse the word “nazi” and don’t respect the tragedy of the Holocaust. You’re doing great disservice to your cause.

        • “I’ve decided to stop participating in this forum” – well that’s OK by me Nat. Since you joined this forum you have forgotten nothing and learned nothing, as they say. Others on the forum should not have persisted in “feeding” you for so long a time.

        • “You’re doing great disservice to your cause.” nazi-troll

          You’re doing a shit of a job to your paymasters, ‘nat’.

        • “I’ve decided to stop participating in this forum”.

          Really? Can this be true? But I haven’t yet received your libel papers. I am waiting. I give Adam Levick permission to give your solicitors my contact details. Please sue me before you go. Please?


        • Really? Won’t you come back as “shoshana”, “ariel” or “hadara”? Hard to believe.

          Meanwhile, shut up nazi-troll.

          • They always say they’ll leave and then they don’t.

            And as you point out, s/he has many other nicks. However, the sick drivel remains the same.

  2. Let him starve himself the sooner the better, one less prisoner to feed and release when pressure is applied. He is a convicted terrorist who would murder innocents at the first opportunity. The Guardian is beyond the pale. Not fit for my rear end period.

  3. can someone tell me how can a man go on a hunger strike for over 200 days and not die?!?!!?!?!?!?!?!?!?
    can you realy believe that he is not eating?? something here is fishy… i think israel should look into it he must be lying…

    • misha, note the key word in this passage from the Reuters piece:

      “Samer al-Issawi, one of the four Palestinians who have been on hunger strike, has been refusing food, intermittently, for more than 200 days.”

  4. They are fortunate to be prisoner in ISRAEL at least they are fed treated fairly should they be ill and kept away from civilised society so that temptation does not lurke them to kill bomb rocket Israel. If the shoe was on the other foot I am sure certain that I would not want to be a prisoner in the Palestinian or Hamas Jail – It is known the atrocities they committed on Israelis taken Prisoner most of them never survive. Never mind what they do to their own suspected of spying.

  5. The Palestinians need new and better role models. The fact that they rally for murderers and attempted murderers says a lot (none good) about their society, and about the real prospects for peace. A culture doesn’t lose a blood thirsty mindset just because a piece of paper gets signed; hate is not something that can be turned on and off like a light switch. Of course any Palestinian who publicly proclaims that terrorism is wrong on moral grounds gets condemned as a traitor.

  6. Arabs and Jews have a common ancestor- Abraham. Islamists also believe in the bible or Old Testament as THE WORD OF GOD. In the bible it says that God himself called Jews his “chosen people”, and God himself promises the holy land to the former Jewish slaves, delivered from slavery by Moses, to the Jews for all time.

    Given these words from the mouth of God, Islamists must believe that they will be punished by God himself for defying his wishes and promises. These words came not from a profit but from the Lord. When looking for the ultimate road to peace and a solution therefrom, it appears that only reminders of the biblical injunctions will swerve terrorists away from their unholy activities.

    What can it hurt to remind over and over, to the people who fervently, and fanatically claim to believe in the bible, the words of God himself. Asking them to forego all others in favor of the one and only God seems to be the only answer.

    • Very good point, but I fear such people will always come up with an excuse why this promise of Israel for the Jews no longer applies. In the meantime, perhaps the relevant section from the Koran should be printed in leaflets and dropped by the millions into Arab countries.

  7. Never mind what the GUARDIAN says It has been established that their writing is biased and mostly anti Israel for what ever reasons – So Isawi can chose to do what he wishes to do obviously he has been fed enough propaganda and does not need food if he wishes to die that is his prerogative because he will never have another chance to commit attrocious acts agains Israel and their civilian population – A hero in their midst you can buy them a dozen a penny they are committed to CRIMES so good ridance for a murderer