Samer al-Issawi, a Palestinian-Arab who was released this week from an Israeli prison after a prolonged hunger strike, received a hero’s welcome not only from the Palestinian Authority but also on the Facebook page of the Israeli Arab political party Hadash.
As reported by Israeli daily Ma’ariv on Friday, the Hadash Facebook page posted an excerpt from an interview that al-Issawi conducted with the Hamas terrorist group’s Al-Aqsa Television. During the exchange, al-Issawi called for the kidnapping of Israelis.
“We say very frankly that we want the release [of all Palestinian prisoners]…their release will only come about after the kidnapping [of Israelis] and a subsequent prisoner swap,” al-Issawi said in the interview.
Al-Issawi was sentenced to 26 years in prison in 2002 for his involvement in a series of shooting attacks targeting Israeli police cars and students at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. However, in 2011, he was released from prison prematurely as part of the prisoner swap in exchange for kidnapped IDF soldier Gilad Shalit. He was subsequently re-arrested for violating the terms of his release.
Despite his past terrorist activities, Hadash’s Facebook page described al-Issawi as a “heroic Palestinian prisoner.” Furthermore, Hadash Knesset Member Muhammad Baraka uploaded onto his personal Facebook page a photograph of himself and fellow Knesset member Ahmed Tibi posing with the released terrorist, Ma’ariv said.
The video in question was removed at some point from Hadash’s Facebook page. According to watchdog group Palestinian Media Watch, the video was only pulled after Israeli daily Makor Rishon confronted Hadash with its posting of al-Issawi’s remarks, Ma’ariv reported.