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December 16, 1983 - Image 19

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1983-12-16

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

Friday, December 16, 1983 19

Red Cross Charges Israel
With Withholding Prisoners

JERUSALEM (JTA) — A
Defense Ministry spokes-
man said Wednesday that
Israel will not agree to
changes in the terms under
which it released some
4,500 Palestinian and
Lebanese prisoners two
weeks ago in exchange for
six Israeli soldiers held
prisoner by the Palestine
Liberation Organization.
The statement was issued
in response to charges by
the International Commit-
tee of the Red Cross (IC' C)
in Geneva that Israel had
reneged on the exchange
agreement in the cases bf an
unspecified number of
Palestinians serving sen-
tences in Israeli prisons for
terrorist acts.
The spokesman insisted
that Israel "acted in good
faith" but conceded there
were some clerical errors
due to the pressure of time
in carrying out the ex-
change and the large
number of prisoners in-
volved. Most of those freed
were internees in south
Lebanon, but 63 were con-

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victed terrorists held in Is-
rael.
A ranking official of the
ICRC said Israel had
failed to produce some of
the prisoners on its list
when the exchange was
affected at Ben-Gurion
Airport. Red Cross per-
sonnel were not aware of
the discrepancy at the
time, the official said, but
the episode damaged the
credibility of the Red
Cross and might com-
promise its future inter-
ventions in the Middle
East.
A Geneva newspaper ac-
cused Israel of cheating. A
PLO representative in
Geneva, Nabil Ramlawi,
claimed that Israel with-
held 37 prisoners agreed to
in the exchange and if they
are not released the PLO
would not return the bodies
of Israeli soldiers killed in
Lebanon.
Israeli authorities admit-
ted last week that one
Palestinian supposed to
have been released was still
in jail but attributed this to
clerical errors on the part of
Red Cross personnel.
The man in question, Ziad
Abu Ain, was convicted last
year of having planted a
bomb which killed two per-
sons and injured 36 in the
Tiberias marketplace sev-
eral years ago. He was tried
after Israel obtained his ex-
tradition from the U.S,
where he had fled and was
living with relatives in
Chicago.
An Israel Defense
Force spokesman said
Abu Ain was not released
with the other prisoners
because his name was not
on the Red Cross lists
from which the IDF and
the Red Cross worked to
organize the exchange.
But according to his
lawyer, Felicia Langer,
he was in fact on the list.
Langer produced a signed
affidavit in which Abu Ain
says he was taken to Ben-
Gurion Airport to be put
aboard a plane with other
prisoners but at the last
minute he was separated
from them by Israeli
soldiers and returned to
prison.
The Jerusalem Post re-
ported that it learned from
"various sources" that Abu
Ain's name was on one Red
Cross list but was misspel-
led on another and the re-
sulting confusion was
exploited by the Israeli
authorities.
The Defense Ministry
spokesman conceded Wed-
nesday that Abu Ain was
not released because of an
error on the list submitted
by the Red Cross, com-
pounded by subsequent er-
rors by the IDF representa-
tive at Ben-Gurion Air-
port. He did not say whether
he will now be freed.

Strike Ends

JERUSALEM (JTA) —
Militant settlers on the
West Bank ended their
week-long sit-in at Joseph's
tomb in Nablus last Thurs-
day.

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