Liberman calls for re-arrest of released hunger-striking Palestinian

Following release from prison Monday, Samer al-Issawi called for kidnapping of IDF soldiers during interview with Hamas TV.

December 25, 2013 19:44
1 minute read.
Samer Essawi after being sentenced, February 21, 2013.

Samer Isssawi, hunger-striker 370. (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/ The Jerusalem Post)


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Sounding more like an opposition MK than a key government minister, Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman called for the rearrest Wednesday of a Palestinian prisoner released on Monday after a 266-day hunger strike.

Samer al-Issawi, sentenced to 26 years in prison in 2002 for shooting attacks in Jerusalem, gained international attention for his hunger strike, which ended in April.

Facing intense international pressure, Israel reached a deal with Issawi whereby his sentence for parole violation would be reduced if he agreed to eat.

Issawi was released in the swap for Gilad Schalit, then rearrested and sentenced to finish his term for violating his parole terms that barred him from leaving the Jerusalem area.

Soon after his release on Monday, he called in an interview with a Hamas television station for the kidnapping of Israeli soldiers, saying “the release of prisoners will only be achieved through kidnappings and prisoner swaps, and nothing else will work.”

Every “normal democratic nation” that wants to defend itself would “already yesterday have returned Issawi to prison,” Liberman said in a post on his Facebook page.

“It can’t be that he is released on probation, and on the same day calls to kidnap the soldiers of the state that released him,” Liberman wrote.

Liberman cited the 1981 hunger strike of IRA prisoners in British prisons, during which 10 of them – including Bobby Sands who was elected to parliament from a district in Northern Ireland during the hunger strike – died.

“Despite that, the British government of Margaret Thatcher did not give in to the demands of the hunger- striking prisoners, and the strike ended without their conditions being met.”

Liberman said Issawi should serve the remainder of his term in prison, “and if he wants to go on a hunger strike he should do as he wishes, or – as British Minister Humphrey Atkins said about the Irish hunger striker [Sands] – if he ‘persisted in his wish to commit suicide, that was his choice.’”

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