Daily Israel Report

PA Asks China to Press Israel to Free Terrorists

PLO unity government PM meets Chinese envoy, calls for condemnation of rescue mission and pressure to free jailed terrorists.
By Ari Yashar
First Publish: 6/20/2014, 10:32 AM

Rami Hamdallah
Rami Hamdallah
Flash 90

Rami Hamdallah, Prime Minister of the new Fatah-Hamas unity government, met with a representative of China on Thursday, and called on the Asian superpower to pressure Israel to release jailed terrorists.

Speaking with China's Special Envoy to the Middle East Wu Sike, Hamdallah called for international intervention against the IDF's "Operation Brother's Keeper," which aims to rescue the three Israeli teens who were kidnapped by Hamas terrorists last Thursday, and break the Hamas terror infrastructure in Judea and Samaria.

Hamdallah criticized the operation as "collective punishment," and called for the roughly 300 terrorists arrested in the operation thus far to be released along with the previously jailed terrorists, particularly those on hunger strike, reports the Arab news source Wafa.

The Knesset is considering a bill stipulating the force-feeding of 80 jailed terrorists who were hospitalized after refusing to eat for nearly two months. There has been stiff opposition to the bill, both from political figures on the left who call it "unethical," and from those on the right who say terrorists deserve the death penalty, not force-feeding.

Hamdallah's comments come despite statements by a PA official on Friday, admitting that "every time Israel is ready to release security prisoners with blood on their hands to release captives, it sends a clear message to kidnappers that (Israel) can be blackmailed."

For his part, the Arab news source reports that Sike expressed his support for the establishment of a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital, noting the Chinese efforts to fund the PA. He added that Chinese experts have arrived in Ramallah to advance humanitarian projects, including solar electric generation projects.

Even according to the report's account, Sike did not condemn the Israeli operation, and indeed there has been a burgeoning alliance between Israel and China. 

Chinese Vice Premier Liu Yandong visited Israel in May, where she signed a bilateral cooperation agreement with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, and likewise a new landmark Israeli initiative to boost exports to China by five billion shekels (roughly $290 million) annually was approved.

While China has not made a clear statement on the kidnapping, the US for its part called for Israel to show "restraint" in attempting to rescue the teenagers. US President Barack Obama has come in for flak over still not commenting on the abduction, over a week later.