Liberman: 'Be Like the British - Let Terrorists Hunger Strike'
Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman (Yisrael Beytenu) called for the recapture of Samer Issawi, the jailed terrorist who was released Monday after a 266 day hunger strike.
Just after his release, Liberman notes that Issawi called for the kidnapping of IDF soldiers, saying "the release of prisoners will only be achieved through kidnapping and prisoner exchange deals, nothing will be achieved without that."
"A prisoner that was released on conditions and calls, the same day, for the kidnapping of soldiers of the nation that freed him needs to serve his full sentence in jail without any reductions, and if he wants to hunger strike let him do that as much as he wants," commented Liberman.
In 2002 Issawi was sentenced to 26 years in jail for terrorism, going free after a mere 10 years in the deal to free Gilad Shalit. After signing a promise not to return to terrorist activities, Issawi promptly broke those conditions and was rearrested in August 2012.
After 8 months of hunger striking, Issawi was admitted to an Israeli hospital, and offered an arrangement to stop his hunger strike and go home after 8 more months of imprisonment. Issawi agreed to the deal, and was subsequently freed this week to his Jerusalem home.
Liberman, in criticizing the release, referenced the 1981 hunger strike by Irish prisoners protesting the British decision removing their special status as political prisoners.
"More than 10 of the protesters died in the hunger strike, among them a striker that was elected at the time to the British Parliament by one of the voting regions in North Ireland," remarked the foreign minister. "Despite all that, the British government under Margaret Thatcher did not submit to the prisoners' demands. In the end the strike ended without the conditions of the striking prisoners being met."
"Every normal democratic country that aspires to defend itself, like the great democracy of Britain that I mentioned... would already yesterday have returned Issawi to his cell," said Liberman. "Like the British minister Humphrey Atkins said of the Irish hunger strike, 'if he persistently wishes to commit suicide, he is welcome to pursue his intent."
The calls by Liberman come the same day the Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon (Likud) criticized the terrorist release planned for next week, saying that in a "normal country" terrorists would not be released the week following a wave of terror attacks.
Issawi's release was decided by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu after consulting Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon, Justice Minister Tzipi Livni and Public Security Minister Yitzchak Aharonovich.
Meanwhile Hamas welcomed the release of the "Palestinian hero," as spokesman Dr. Sami Abu Zahari said Issawi's release "expresses the aspirations to defeat the occupation."
Issawi spoke to Arabic news channels shortly after being released: