Last two prisoners recaptured - #25
But Israel will never recover from this blow to its rotting image of "invincibility."
See issue 23 for more background on the escape:
Ayham Kamamji and Munadel Infiat were captured in their home town Jenin, in the West Bank in the early hours of Sunday.
Israeli occupation forces invaded the town at two different points, Palestinian media reported. The first of these incursions was reportedly a distraction to draw out armed Palestinian resistance away from the point of arrest. Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported an exchange of fire between Palestinians and the Israeli military.
Ayham Kamamji’s brother told Quds News Network that Ayham said he was going to give himself up to the Israeli troops who had surrounded the house he had been hiding out in.
He said this was so as not to endanger the lives of the Palestinians who had sheltered him. Two other men were reportedly arrested alongside the final two prisoners.
Israel’s occupation courts allege that Ayham Kamamji is a militant with the Islamic Jihad resistance group. Munadel Infiat had been held for almost two years without charge or trial. Israel’s oppressive system of internment — dubbed “administrative detention” — dates back to the British colonial occupation of Palestine.
Meanwhile, with some of the men being granted limited access to their lawyers, more details have begun to emerge about how the other four men escaped and how they spent their days on the run.
Digging the tunnel took nine months.
Soon after the escape, the six split up into three groups of two. They made a decision to avoid Palestinian villages, in order to keep others free of repercussions and collective punishment.
Speaking to his lawyer, Yacoub Qadri vowed to attempt escape again. He said his time on the run was “the most beautiful five days in my life. Seeing occupied Palestine was a dream coming true.”
Muhammed Arda’s lawyer told journalists that they survived by foraging off the land of Palestine itself. They ate olives and sabr, Palestine’s native prickly pears. Arda denied Israeli media claims that they had been caught after a tip-off to police by Palestinian citizens of Israel.
With the final two prisoners being caught in the West Bank, however, and the Israelis reporting that they acted on intelligence, the question remains: did the collaborationist Palestinian Authority tip them off?
Here’s a new short video explaining how to support our work at The Electronic Intifada by becoming a sustainer:
My work this week
Watch or listen to the latest episode of The Electronic Intifada Podcast here.
My colleague Nora and I talked to Stefan Christoff and Jessie Lauren Stein of Musicians for Palestine. They helped organize an important open letter of support for the Palestinians, signed by more than 600 artists, including Black Thought and Questlove of The Roots, System of a Down, Noname, The Narcicyst and many more.
I wrote this analysis for a new website, The Cradle. It’s about a brewing crisis in the relationship between the Israeli military and Israeli society.
If you believe some senior officers, this could have even more serious consequences for Israel’s long term military capabilities than the prison break: There are now rumblings of Israeli-Jewish resentment against the military itself – once considered the sacred cow of Zionism.
Read the whole piece here.
Finally, here’s my Middle East Monitor column for this past weekend. It’s about how we can’t simply trust it to human rights NGOs and international inquiries and courts to bring justice to Israel and freedom to the Palestinians.
Speaking at Resist! in Brighton
Labour conference kicks off this coming weekend. You may recall that my journalism was purged by party officials last year, with my press pass being revoked.
During Labour conference this year I will be speaking on two panels at Resist! at the Rialto in Brighton. “Why alternative media is important to the left” at 8pm on Monday the 27th and on the Palestinian resistance at 3pm on Tuesday the 28th.
Tickets are sold out, but apparently there is a waiting list: