Indy’s Alistair Dawber refers to Palestinian terrorists as “Political Prisoners”

On April 10th we commented on a Guardian report by Harriet Sherwood about efforts by John Kerry to restart Israeli-Palestinian peace talks which included several passages about concessions demanded by Mahmoud Abbas before he’d agree to resume negotiations, including the following:

[Abbas] also wants the release of 123 political prisoners who have been in jail since before the Oslo accords were signed almost 20 years ago, and for Israel to present a map showing proposed borders. [emphasis added]

As we noted at the time, many Palestinians regard even those compatriots held in Israeli jails who committed acts of terrorist brutality against Jews as “political prisoners”, and Sherwood’s prose served to legitimize this extremist Palestinian narrative.

Some time after our post, however, we were able to obtain detailed information on the pre-Oslo prisoners from the Israeli Justice Ministry, data which included details of the crimes, the dates of conviction and other relevant facts on every Palestinian prisoner in question.  The Justice Ministry’s information proved conclusively that all of the prisoners were indeed common criminals convicted of murder and (mostly) terrorists who murdered or attempted to murder Israeli civilians, soldiers, or foreign tourists.  This data was collated, translated and published for the first time exclusively at CAMERA in early June.

Some time after providing the Guardian with proof that the Palestinians in question can not fairly be referred to as “political prisoners” the paper’s editors agreed to revise the passage, and noted that the pre-Oslo prisoners are merely described as “political prisoners” by the Palestinians.

Today, however, another UK paper made the same serious error.

Alistair Dawber, Jerusalem correspondent for The Independent, penned a report today on recent concessions Israel reportedly offered to the Palestinians in order to restart peace talks, with the following headline:


Here are the first two paragraphs of Dawber’s report:

Details of the latest Middle East peace plan began to emerge today, hours after John Kerry announced that he had brokered an agreement that is likely to lead to fresh talks between the Israelis and Palestinians.

The most significant concession appears to be a promise by Israel to release a number of high-ranking Palestinian political prisoners, many of whom have been behind bars for decades. Prisoner releases have been a longstanding demand of the Palestinian leadership.

Whilst you can view the complete CAMERA list of the prisoners here, to provide a brief understanding of the absurdity of using the term “political prisoners” in this context, here are brief descriptions of the crimes committed by only a few of the prisoners Dawber alludes to:

  • Stabbed to death a civilian woman who was walking along the street; attempted to cause the death of three additional civilians.
  • Shot and murdered a soldier. In addition, beat to death a Palestinian civilian who was suspected of collaborating with the authorities. Also killed 4 Palestinian civilians whom he suspected of being collaborators
  • Threw an incendiary bomb at a passenger bus and caused the death of a mother, her three children, and a soldier who attempted to rescue them.
  • Beat an elderly man from the Sharon region with a hoe, thus causing his death.
  • Along with his accomplice, used a knife to stab to death an elderly man living in Kadima.
  • As a condition of being accepted to a terrorist organization and along with his accomplice, used an ax to murder a Jewish civilian who worked with them.
  • Participated in laying an explosive device in Mahaneh Yehudah Market in Jerusalem, causing the death of one civilian and the injury of nine. In addition, participated in an additional attempted attack in Mahaneh Yehudah and plotted to lay an explosive device at Carmel Market.
  • Participated in lynching an IDF soldier. Afterward threw rocks at the soldier, poured fuel on his vehicle, and set it on fire, with the soldier inside it. He did not express remorse for his deeds.
  • Oversaw a cell that committed 5 attacks on civilian buses and caused the injury of 16 passengers. In addition, on his orders the cell murdered three civilians on two occasions. Also, personally participated in the murder of two civilians.
  • Participated in the abduction, interrogation through torture, and murder/killing of 4 Palestinian residents suspected of collaborating with the Israeli authorities

(You can see a partial list of the victims here.)

As we argued previously, to refer to violent Palestinian criminals and terrorists (many of whom committed cruel and sadistic crimes against innocent Israelis) as “political prisoners” represents an egregious corruption of the term – propaganda of terror apologists legitimized by those in the media ideologically sympathetic to the Palestinian cause.

(Update: We just learned that Alistair Dawber will soon become the Indy’s foreign editor) 

15 replies »

  1. It is stupid for Israel to release prisoners it considers terrorists. It is in essence an admittance that those Palestinians held in Israeli prisons are political prisoners and held for their political view. Why would Israel take such a stupid step.

  2. Call them what you will, but their actions define them more surely than any semantic tendering.

    Just get on with negotiations rather than engage in such diversionary wordplay.

    • “semantic tendering”? “diversionary wordplay?”

      So if a person released after completing his sentence having been convicted of the sexual abuse of young children decided to call himself a “former prisoner” in a job application to work in a school, that would be fine?

      If school history books simply referred to Adolf Hitler as “the former Chancellor of Germany” without any reference to his politics and policies, that would be fine?

      If I advertised my car as “well-loved” and you bought it online to discover the interior was covered in scrawled hearts and engravings of “I Love You”, that would be fine?

      Words are important. To call terrorists and murders “political prisoners” is simply an abuse of language.

  3. It’s a matter of record that these prisoners are murderers or attempted murderers, who have been jailed after being found guilty in a court of law.

    I can’t believe Dawber can unaware of this. I suspect he is deliberately lying. The Israeli authorities should demand a retraction and a public apology. Relatives of those who were killed or maimed should seek compensation.

  4. In 2007, the number of Palestinians under administrative detention averaged about 830 per month, including women and minors under the age of 18.[10] By March 2008, more than 8,400 Palestinians were held by Israeli civilian and military authorities, of which 5,148 were serving sentences, 2,167 were facing legal proceedings and 790 were under administrative detention, often without charge or knowledge of the suspicions against them.

    • And what exactly does your post have to do with the subject of the thread?

      Which to remind you is the attempt to portray a bunch of murdering terrorist thugs as ‘political prisoners’?
      By the way your feeble attempt to use the term minor is tedious. If they are old enough to do the crime, they are old enough to do the time.

      How many more manifestations are you going to attempt ‘Samantha’ only they are so obvious as to be beyond boring. Perhaps you could get some help with your multiple personality disorder, I suggest a hot bath and some sharp razors.

    • @”Samantha Richards”
      Sounds to me like these Palestinians have a huge crime problem in proportion to their numbers. This could very well be a problem of bad rearing.

  5. Nazisse Catherine/Samantha aka NS-
    Ismail/Alan/Deborah/Jim/Jason/Dirk/Nick/Natzie/Rob, amended by Gerald with Dopey/Grumpy/Sneezy/Sleazy/Tosser/Dorothy/Straw Man/Dick Head/Drek is a multiple personality.

    • Fritz, yes, with each personality suffering from a very fashionable condition: the delusion of moral superiority over the Jews / Zionists. The heart of darkness of European bigotry.