Palestinian Media Watch Bulletin
January 30, 2004

PALESTINIAN MEDIA WATCH
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PALESTINIANS SEE KIDNAPPING IDF
SOLDIERS AS HOSTAGES AS PRECENDENT

by Itamar Marcus

Introduction
Yesterday Israel released over 400 Palestinian terrorists and those who had aided terrorists from its prisons in exchange for the bodies of three Israeli soldiers and a civilian who had been kidnapped by the Hizbullah terror organization. Those opponents of the deal in Israel fear that exchanging terrorist prisoners for kidnapped Israelis will encourage more kidnapping. Confirming Israel's fears, the Palestinian media has cited numerous PA sources expressing the sentiment that Hizballah has created the precedent, and the "resistance" is more effective than negotiations. Even Arafat's Fatah "emphasized the necessity to follow in the footsteps of the act of Hizbullah, so that all prisoners and detainees will be released."

The following are a collection of these statements from the PA media:

The Minister for prisoners and detainees affairs, Hisham Abdul-Raziq, expressed his joy at the completion of prisoners exchanging between Hizbullah and the Government of Israel. This deal includes the releasing of four hundred Palestinian prisoners...

The spokesman of the committee of the relatives of the prisoners in Israeli jails, Halid Al-Hatib... said: "The Government of Israel, by reaching this agreement, sends the Palestinians a message, which indicates that the releasing of your prisoners will not happen through negotiations."

Palestinian National Council member, Basam Abu Sharif, thanked Hizbullah for its efforts to release four hundred Palestinian prisoners. He described this act of Hizbullah as a Pan-Arab one deserveing respect ...

The Hamas and Islamic Jihad movements described the deal as "an achievement", which confirms that the resistance is "a realistic and practical option" for the freeeing the land and people.

One of Hamas leaders, Ismail Haniyah, told the French News Agency that the deal is a Palestinian, Lebanese and Arab achievement and he added: "This deal confirms that the resistance is a realistic and a practical option, which is capable of achievements to liberate the land and people." [Al-Hayat Al-Jadidah, Jan. 26, 2004]

The wife of the prisoner, Nafiz Haraz, a resident of Gaza who served 19 years in jail of life imprisonment... said: "every single prisoner who is released is an achievement for us and a victory for the resistance... We thank Sheik Nasrallah for this important achievement of releasing prisoners. He is the hawk of the Arabs..."

The [Palestinian] citizens believe that Hizbullah's action opend a new door of hope for the families of the prisoners, after it was closed during the [discussions of] political solutions between the [Palestinian] National Authority and Israel, which did not lead to any practical results ..." [Al-Hayat Al-Jadidah, Jan.27, 2004]

"... the military branch of the Fatah movement, organized a civil and military parade yesterday in Rafah to express appreciation and gratitude for the efforts made by Hizbullah in releasing Arab and Palestinian prisoners from Israeli jails in the prisoners exchange deal with Isreal. In a manifesto of the Abu Al-Rish Regiments, the military branch of Fatah emphasized the necessity to follow in the footsteps of the act of Hizbullah, so that all prisoners and detainees will be released."
[Al-Hayat Al-Jadidah, Jan. 29, 2004]