Samer Isssawi, hunger-striker 370.
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/ The Jerusalem Post)
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.
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
Facing intense international pressure, Israel reached a deal with
Issawi whereby his sentence for parole violation would be reduced if he agreed
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
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 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 –
“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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