Hamas: No Free Information On Missing Israelis
19 July 2015
By Khalid Amayreh
Israel has finally officially acknowledged that two Israelis were being held
in the Gaza Strip, presumably in Hamas's custody.
Israel had hoped that Hamas would disclose information on the matter, which
would help Israel repatriate the two men in return for a non-costly price or
at no price at all.
But Hamas has acted smartly by remaining tight-lipped on the matter for the
past 12 months.
Hamas should continue this wise policy as giving free information of any kind
to Israel would be self-defeating and immensely harmful for the Palestinian
cause, especially the cause of thousands of Palestinian political prisoners
and resistance detainees languishing in Israeli jails and detention camps.
It is likely that Israel will ask third-parties to pressure Hamas to release
specific information on the missing Israelis as a "humanitarian gesture."
Israel could ask the Ramallah regime and/or the Sissi regime to exert
pressure on Hamas to release the missing soldiers.
Hamas should firmly reject such deceptive tactics.
More to the point, Israel is not expected to pursue this matter with the same
vigor and persistence it pursued the Shalit affair.
The reason is clear. The two missing men are not Ashkenazi Jews. One is
reportedly an Ethiopian Jew and the other one is an Arab. Both are not
considered bona fide Israelis.
And as we all know, Arabs (even those serving in the Israeli army) and
Ethiopian Jews are placed at the very bottom of Israel's social ladder.
But non-action by the Israeli government would embarrass the Zionist regime
and expose its racist nature. In fact, we have already witnessed the
Ethiopian Jewish community, which was subjected to a humiliating conversion
process at the hands of the High Rabbinate in Israel, openly accuse the
Israeli regime of racism vis-à-vis the black Ethiopians. (Talmudic
authorities consider black Africans virtual animals).
Moreover, hundreds of Ethiopians recently took to the streets in protest
against widespread racism against black Ethiopians by official Israeli
institutions, prompting Israeli officials, including Prime Minister Binyamin
Netanyahu to repudiate racism.
It is imperative that Hamas exercise patience and resilience in dealing with
this matter of the missing Israelis. Israel, in dealing with us, adopts Real
Police in its most callous forms. It withholds medical care from Palestinian
prisoners. It often flagrantly re-arrests prisoners released in the context
of international agreements such as the Shalit deal.
It keeps Palestinian prisoners in prison despite the expiration of their jail
terms. It keeps extending the imprisonment of "administrative detainees" for
many months and years, without charge or trial.
Indeed, numerous Palestinian inmates in Israeli jails don't actually know why
they are in prison.
For these and many other reasons, Hamas must deal with Israel on the basis of
Finally, it should be made abundantly clear that any perceived intransigence
on Hamas's is not a goal in itself.
Hamas, indeed the entire Palestinian people, have many scores to settle with
Israel. Israel is continuing to blockade Gaza, open fire on fishermen,
prevent Palestinians from traveling through the Beit Hanoon border crossing,
prevent the free flow of goods and services between Gaza and the West Bank,
and bar Gazans from having their own seaport and airport.
Israel is also deliberately impeding the reconstruction of Gaza where 100,000
homes were destroyed and damaged during the Nazi-like Israeli blitz last
These are indisputable rights not excessive demands made by the Palestinians.
That is why, every asset available to the Palestinians ought to be utilized
to expedite these legitimate Palestinian interests.
Khalid Amayreh is a Palestinian journalist and current affairs political
commentator living in Occupied Palestine