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December 2, 2019 10:56 am

UK Paper Revives Lie of Palestinian ‘Political Prisoners’ in Israel

avatar by Adam Levick


The Guardian newspaper’s London offices. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

A Guardian article (“Lawyer criticises secretive Israeli case against Gaza aid worker,” Nov. 28), by its Jerusalem correspondent, Oliver Holmes, included the following claim:

More than 4,700 Palestinian security detainees and political prisoners are held by Israel, some of them under administrative detention, which allows authorities to detain people without charge or trial.

However, there are no Palestinian “political prisoners” (a term widely understood as referring to people “imprisoned for their political beliefs”) in Israeli prisons. And, in fact, the source cited in that sentence, the anti-Israel NGO B’Tselem, doesn’t cite any “political prisoners” in its list of prisoners.

Amnesty International, in its 2017/18 annual report, does list one Palestinian, Ahmed Qatamesh, as a “prisoner of conscience” — but this doesn’t appear to be true, as reports at the time noted that he was arrested because he was a “senior member” of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine terror group.

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Note that, following a complaint by UK Media Watch, The Guardian amended a 2013 article that initially referred to more than 100 pre-Oslo Palestinian prisoners, all of whom were convicted of violent offenses, as “political prisoners.” The Guardian editors’ note clarified that it is only PA authorities who — as is often the case — were characterizing them as “political prisoners.”

Their latest use of the term “political prisoners” represents another example of The Guardian blindly accepting Palestinian propaganda as fact, and we’ve complained to the readers’ editor asking that it amend the sentence in question.

Adam Levick covers the British media for CAMERA, the 65,000-member, Boston-based Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America.

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