Weekly Commentary: Walking through Palestinian Lies – The Obligation to
Dr. Aaron Lerner Date: 5 July 2012
Officials of the Palestinian Authority have launched a concerted campaign to
press Israel to release all the Arab murderers held now for murdering people
prior to the signing of the Oslo agreements,
These officials claim that the agreements Israel signed obligate the Jewish
State to do that.
And these officials make this claim when they meet with American and other
Now if your English is good enough that you can understand these lines and
you have an attention span that is long enough to get through most of this
column you will be armed with knowledge that apparently most of the Israeli
journalists following this story apparently are lacking. And that is that
Israel is under absolutely no obligation to release all these terrorists.
OK. Here we go.
The Palestinians claim that the Interim Agreement requires the release of
all those held for actions carried out before Oslo.
Let’s read the relevant excerpt:
Israeli-Palestinian Interim Agreement on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip
Washington, D.C., September 28, 1995
Confidence Building Measures
With a view to fostering a positive and supportive public atmosphere to
accompany the implementation of this Agreement, to establish a solid basis
of mutual trust and good faith, and in order to facilitate the anticipated
cooperation and new relations between the two peoples, both Parties agree to
carry out confidence building measures as detailed herewith:
1. Israel will release or turn over to the Palestinian side, Palestinian
detainees and prisoners, residents of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. The
first stage of release of these prisoners and detainees will take place on
the signing of this Agreement and the second stage will take place prior to
the date of the elections. There will be a third stage of release of
detainees and prisoners. Detainees and prisoners will be released from among
categories detailed in Annex VII (Release of Palestinian Prisoners and
Detainees). Those released will be free to return to their homes in the West
Bank and the Gaza Strip.
Release of Palestinian Prisoners and Detainees
1. The release of detainees and prisoners, as agreed upon in Article XVI of
this Agreement will be carried out in three stages.
2. The following categories of detainees and/or prisoners will be included
in the abovementioned releases:
a. all female detainees and prisoners shall be released in the first stage
b. persons who have served more than two thirds of their sentence;
3. Detainees and prisoners from among the categories detailed in this
paragraph, who meet the criteria set out in paragraph 2 above, are being
considered by Israel to be eligible for release:
a. prisoners and/or detainees aged 50 years and above;
b. prisoners and/or detainees under 18 years of age;
c. prisoners who have been imprisoned for 10 years or more; and
d. sick and unhealthy prisoners and/or detainees.
4. The third stage of release will take place during the permanent status
negotiations and will involve the categories set out above, and may explore
Notice how Annex VII 2. a. includes the word “all” at the start of the
phrase “all female detainees and prisoners”?
And notice how this is the only time that the word “all” is used? By the
same token the word “the” doesn’t appear at the start of the description of
any groups (the phrases read “prisoners…” rather than “the prisoners…”).
Well there is a reason for that.
“All” means all. The word “the” also means “all in the category”.
The absence of “all” and “the” means that the phrase relates to “some” from
the category but in no way can the phrase be interpreted as requiring its
application to “all” from the category.
Conclusion: If you understand English and have a long enough attention span
to read up to this point you know that the Palestinian officials who claim
that the Interim Agreement requires the release of all the terrorists being
held for actions before Oslo are grossly misrepresenting the
Let’s move on to the other document cited by the Palestinian officials:
The Sharm el-Sheikh Memorandum on Implementation Timeline of Outstanding
Commitments of Agreements Signed and the Resumption of Permanent Status
(September 4, 1999)
3. Release of Prisoners
a. The two Sides shall establish a joint committee that shall follow-up on
matters related to release of Palestinian prisoners.
b. The Government of Israel shall release Palestinian and other prisoners
who committed their offences prior to September 13, 1993, and were arrested
prior to May 4, 1994. The Joint Committee shall agree on the names of those
who will be released in the first two stages. Those lists shall be
recommended to the relevant Authorities through the Monitoring and Steering
c. The first stage of release of prisoners shall be carried out on September
5, 1999 and shall consist of 200 prisoners. The second stage of release of
prisoners shall be carried out on October 8, 1999 and shall consist of 150
d. The joint committee shall recommend further lists of names to be released
to the relevant Authorities through the Monitoring and Steering Committee;
e. The Israeli side will aim to release Palestinian prisoners before next
Once again, the text refers to the "release of Palestinian prisoners" and
not to the “release of all Palestinian prisoners" or "release of the
And take note, the fact that it does not require the release of all the
prisoners in the category is reinforced by 3.d. which talks about a joint
committee recommending "further lists of names to be released" rather than
stating that the remaining prisoners should be released.
Now that wasn’t so complicated was it?
So here is the question:
If it’s so simple to see that the Palestinian officials are misrepresenting
the agreements then why aren’t journalists covering the story pointing this
Come to think of it, why isn’t this cited by Israeli officials and
spokespeople as a simple straightforward example of how Palestinian
officials misrepresent the situation?
Dr. Aaron Lerner, Director IMRA (Independent Media Review & Analysis)
(Mail POB 982 Kfar Sava)
Tel 972-9-7604719/Fax 972-3-7255730
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