On October 28th the BBC News website ran an article on its Middle East page titled “Israel to free next 26 Palestinian prisoners under deal“.
The article opens:
“The Israeli government has approved the release of another 26 Palestinian prisoners as part of a US-brokered deal for the resumption of peace talks.
They will be the second round of prisoners to be freed since August.
The prisoners were all convicted of murders committed prior to the 1993 Oslo accords between Israel and the PLO (Palestine Liberation Organisation).”
The latter statement is inaccurate – as can be seen below, one of the murders was committed eleven days after the signing of the Oslo Accords and another six months later in March 1994.
The article promotes the Palestinian narrative of terrorists as “heroes of the Palestinian cause” as was advanced by the BBC Jerusalem Bureau’s Yolande Knell at the time of the previous prisoner release.
“The 26 Palestinian inmates previously released by Israel had also been convicted of murder or attempted murder.
They were taken by bus in the early hours of 14 August to the Beitunia checkpoint in the West Bank and the Erez crossing with Gaza.
Correspondents said they were mobbed by relatives, friends and well-wishers, who see them as heroes of the Palestinian cause.”
The report goes on to promote another erroneous BBC mantra:
“Peace talks broke down in 2010 amid disagreement over the issue of Jewish settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.”
In fact, talks halted in September 2010 when the Palestinian negotiators refused to continue them after having refused to come to the table for 90% of the duration of a building freeze.
At the bottom of the report readers are once again encouraged to be sceptical about whether the recent murders of Israeli citizens are actually acts of terror.
“A number of Israelis have also been killed and a nine-year-old Israeli girl stabbed in the past two months in what Israel characterises as “terror attacks” in the West Bank.”
The BBC also states:
“Few details have been published about the second phase of releases.”
In fact, on October 27th the Israeli Prison Service published a list of those scheduled for release and the local media has of course covered the subject extensively.
With the notable exception of one article, the BBC largely ignored the subject of the crimes committed by the last group of prisoners released in August. Below is a list of those scheduled for release on October 29th.
Nasser Mohammed: born in 1965, a member of Hamas and a resident of Judea & Samaria. Arrested in 1985 and sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder of Aharon Avidar.
Karaja Rafaa: born in 1962, a resident of Judea & Samaria. Arrested in 1985 and sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder of Aharon Avidar.
Aharon (Roni) Avidar was born in Jerusalem and was a computer programmer. He was 29 years old when, in February 1985, he was shot by terrorists whilst on reserve duty guarding a government office in Al Bireh, near Ramallah. Roni was survived by his wife and daughter – his infant son had died some three months before he was murdered.
Tsabbag Mohamed: born 1974, a member of Fatah and a resident of Judea & Samaria was arrested in 1991 and sentenced to life imprisonment. Whilst a minor, he tortured and brutally murdered three local residents (Hassan Katbia, Lutfi Sa’adi and one other person) suspected of collaboration.
Shabbir Hazam: born 1974, a member of Fatah and a resident of the Gaza Strip was arrested in 1994 and sentenced to life imprisonment. As an initiation into a terror organization, together with an accomplice released in the previous round, he murdered a work colleague – Isaac Rotenberg from Holon – with an axe.
Holocaust survivor Isaac Rotenberg was born in Poland. Most of his family was murdered in the Sobibor death camp, but Isaac managed to escape and joined the partisans. After the war he tried to make his way by ship to mandate Palestine, but was interred by the British and sent to a detention camp in Cyprus until 1947. After his release Isaac arrived in pre-state Israel and fought in the War of Independence. He continued his work as a plasterer even after pension age and in March 1994 was at his place of work in Petah Tikva when he was attacked by two Palestinian labourers with axes. He died, aged 67, two days later.
Amawi Halmi: born 1968, a member of Hamas and a resident of the Gaza Strip was arrested in 1993 and sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder of Yigal Vaknin.
22-year-old tractor operator Yigal Vaknin was stabbed to death in an orchard at his place of work in Moshav Batzra on September 24th 1993 (the eve of Yom Kippur), eleven days after the signing of the Oslo accords, when Halmi and an accomplice lured him with a request for help. Yigal, who grew up in Dimona, was survived by his parents and eight brothers and sisters.
Damouni Ahmed: born 1970, a member of Hamas and a resident of the Gaza Strip, was arrested in 1990 and sentenced to life imprisonment for his part in the lynching of reservist Amnon Pomerantz.
Amnon Pomerantz was an electrical engineer and scientist and worked in research and development. On September 20th 1990, Amnon left his home in Havatzelet Hasharon for reserve duty in Gaza. Three hours later, he was brutally murdered by a gang of Palestinian rioters after he took a wrong turn on the way to his base and accidentally entered Al Burj Refugee Camp. After they threw rocks at him, they poured gasoline on his vehicle and ignited it with Amnon inside. Amnon was 46 at the time of his death. He was survived by his wife and three children.
Matsalha Yusuf: born 1966, a member of Hamas and a resident of the Gaza Strip, was arrested in 1993 and sentenced to two life sentences for his part in the murders of Yigal Vaknin (see above) and Reuven David. During his imprisonment, together with an accomplice, he caused grievous bodily harm to a prisoner suspected of collaboration with the authorities.
Reuven David was born in Iraq and was the owner of a mini-market in Petah Tikva. In May 1991, together with an accomplice who was released in the previous round, Matslaha entered 59 year-old David’s shop, tied him up, gagged him and then beat him to death, before escaping in the victim’s car. Reuven David left a wife, three children and several grandchildren.
Abu Dahila Sharif: born 1955, a member of Fatah and a resident of Judea & Samaria, was arrested in 1992 for the murder of Avi Osher and sentenced to life imprisonment.
Avi Osher, aged 40 from Moshav Beka’ot in the Jordan Rift Valley was an agricultural instructor who also managed the date grove at Moshav Mesu’a. In June 1991 Avi was stabbed to death in that date grove by Abu Dahila, with whom he had worked for 15 years. Avi was survived by his wife Eilat and their two children.
Gnimat Mustafa and Gnimat Ziad: both born 1962, both residents of Judea & Samaria and members of Fatah, were arrested in 1985 and each sentenced to life imprisonment for the murders of two Israeli civilians – Meir Ben Yair (33) and Michal Cohen (32) who were sitting in a car in Messu’a forest, near Beit Shemesh.
Tsalah Razak: born 1963, a member of Fatah and a resident of Judea & Samaria was arrested in 1993 and sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder of Guy Fridman. In addition, he threw firebombs at Israeli vehicles.
In December 1990 nineteen year-old Guy Fridman was killed and two other soldiers were injured in Bethlehem when bombs exploded in an ambush. He was survived by his parents and two brothers.
Shakir Al Afu: born 1964, a member of Fatah and a resident of Judea & Samaria, arrested in 1986 and sentenced to life imprisonment for his part in the murder of Shaltiel Akiva.
On the eve of Pessach 1985, Sgt. Shaltiel Akiva, aged 21, arrived home from Lebanon to spend the holiday with his family in Rosh HaAiyn. However, he was immediately called back to his base in Samaria. On April 6th he set out to visit his family but en route was kidnapped and strangled to death by a terrorist cell. His body was found two days later near Beit Ariyeh. He was survived by his parents and five siblings.
Haga Mouid: born 1966, a member of Fatah and a resident of Judea & Samaria was arrested in 1992 and sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder of Yosef Shirazi.
Yosef Shirazi (62) was born in Baghdad and immigrated to Israel in 1950. He resided in Eilat where he had just begun working as a security guard for the Hebrew Unversity’s marine biology research centre when he was shot at close range by members of a terror cell who had swum from Aqaba in Jordan to Eilat with the intention of carrying out a terror attack.
Mukbal Najah: born 1966, a member of Fatah and a resident of Judea & Samaria, was arrested in 1990 and sentenced to 38 years imprisonment for the murder – together with an accomplice – of Ya’akov Shalom. He was due for release in July 2028.
Ya’akov Shalom was born in Jerusalem in 1949 where he studied law after his military service. In later years he opened a restaurant in Ein Kerem and it was in the flat above the restaurant that he was stabbed to death in May 1990 by two of his employees.
Yusef Hazaa: born in 1967 and a resident of Judea & Samaria, arrested in 1985 and sentenced to life imprisonment for the murders of two civilians
In July 1985, whilst a minor and together with an accomplice, he murdered two Israeli teachers from a school in Afula on a preparatory hike in a JNF forest on the Gilboa mountains. 35 year-old father of five Yosef Elihau was shot at close range and 19 year-old National Service volunteer Leah Almakayis was strangled.
Abed Alhaj Rahman: born in 1972, a resident of Judea & Samaria, arrested in 1992 and sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder of Genia Friedman and attempted murder.
Genia Friedman immigrated to Israel from the Ukraine in 1991. She was 41 years old when, in February 1992, she was stabbed to death on a main street in Kfar Saba, where she lived. The terrorist also stabbed and injured her father and two other people.
Abdel Aziz Ahmed: born 1973, a resident of Judea & Samaria, arrested in 1993 and sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder of Motti Bitton. He planned, initiated and carried out the attack in October 1992 which led to the death of 32 year-old father of three Motti Bitton from Ganim and the injury of his wife, Mali Bitton whilst they were shopping in convenience store along the road from Jenin to Jezreel Junction.
Abu Hanana Usama: born 1974, a member of Fatah and a resident of Judea & Samaria. Arrested in 1992 and sentenced to life imprisonment for his part in the murder of Motti Bitton (see above) and the injury of his wife by throwing an explosive device at her.
Turkeman Mohamed: born 1973, a member of Fatah and a resident of Judea & Samaria. Arrested in 1992 and sentenced to life imprisonment for shooting and killing Motti Bitton (see above) and shooting and injuring the deceased’s wife who got out of her vehicle to help her husband.
Issa Abed Rabbo: born 1962, a member of Fatah and a resident of Judea & Samaria (Deheishe). Arrested in 1984 and sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder of two hikers.
Revital Seri (22) and Ron Levy (23) were both students at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. In October 1984 they were hiking near the Cremisan monastery when they were attacked by Abed Rabbo (whose mother was honored by Mahmoud Abbas earlier this year), tied up and shot to death at close range with a stolen weapon.
Aashur Mohamed: born 1960, resident of Judea & Samaria, arrested in 1985 and sentenced to 30 years imprisonment (scheduled release date May 2017) for murder and grievous bodily harm.
Together with two accomplices, he shot 33 year-old taxi driver David Caspi in the head whilst he was driving them through the neighbourhood of Shuafat and then dumped his body by the side of the road. David Caspi left a wife and two daughters.
While in prison he was involved in the assault and injury of another prisoner.
Amar Massoud: born 1974, a member of the PFLP and a resident of the Gaza Strip. Arrested in 1993 and sentenced to three life terms for the murder of Ian Feinberg (with accomplices) and for the kidnapping, interrogation and murder of three civilians suspected of being collaborators.
Ian Sean Feinberg was born in South Africa and immigrated to Israel after finishing High School. Having qualified in law before his enlistment, he spent five years serving as a lawyer in the Gaza Strip and was later involved professionally with Palestinian economic development as a legal advisor. On April 18th 1993, during a business meeting in the Rimal neighborhood of Gaza City, terrorists burst into the room announcing that they had ‘come to kill the Jew’. They then murdered him with gunshots and an axe. Ian was 30 at the time of his death. He was survived by his wife and three children.
Al Azrak Khaled: born 1966, a member of Fatah and a resident of Judea & Samaria. Arrested in 1991 and sentenced to life imprisonment for murder and attempted murder. He took part in the planting of a bomb in the Mahane Yehuda market in Jerusalem in May 1990 which led to the death of one civilian and injured nine others. Additionally, he took part in another attempted bomb attack in the Mahane Yehuda market and planned the planting of a bomb in the Carmel market.
Shimon Cohen, who was 71 years old when he was killed in the terror attack on Mahane Yehuda market, was a sixth generation Jerusalemite who was born in the Old City in 1920. After his retirement from the family’s fish stall in the same market, he used to visit friends there frequently.
Beni- Hassan Othman: born 1966, resident of Judea & Samaria, member of Fatah. Arrested in 1985 and sentenced to life imprisonment for the murders of Yosef Eliyahu and Leah Almakayis (see above).
Samarin Asrar: born 1969, a member of Fatah and a resident of Judea & Samaria. Arrested in 1992 and sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder of Tzvi Klein and for attempted murder.
Kara’an Musa: born 1969, a member of Fatah and a resident of Judea & Samaria. Arrested in 1992 for his part in the murder of Tzvi Klein and sentenced to 28 years in prison. Scheduled release date: August 2020.
Tzvi Klein was born in 1947 in Czechoslovakia. A mathematician and an educator, he made his home in Ofra, teaching and also active at the pedagogic centre of the Binyamin council. On the first day of Hannuka 1991, he was travelling from Jerusalem to Ofra when shots were fired at his vehicle. Tzvi was fatally injured in the head, a passenger was also injured and his daughter who was also travelling with him was unharmed. 44 years old at the time of his death, Tzvi was survived by his wife and three children.
The information above is all available in the public domain, so why the BBC has “few details” to report to its audiences is something of a mystery.
Upcoming prisoner release – the details you won’t hear from the BBC
The facts behind the BBC myth of “Palestinian political prisoners”