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Wednesday, September 02, 2009

A whopping Palestinian Arab lie

One of the testimonies to the Goldstone commission came from Sahar Francis, director of the Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association. In her statement she said that
from the beginning of the Israeli occupation until now, there have been approximately 750,000 Palestinian prisoners detained by Israel. At the moment there are 8,100 detainees, including 60 women. She said these statistics are based mostly on the Israel Prison Authority’s own figures, published on a monthly basis.
The idea that there have been 750,000 Palestinian Arab prisoners since 1967 is simply absurd.

That would mean that there were, on the average, over 23,000 new prisoners a year since 1967, or 500 a week. Looking at the IPA website on how many of what they call "political prisoners" were in prison during the past few years, we see:

Even during the height of the intifada, the number of these prisoners never reached 10,000. (These figures are for what IPA refers to as political prisoners, meaning Palestinian Arab terror suspects, and not common criminals, so there are some more Arab prisoners than indicated here, but since the figure of 8,100 current prisoners is consistent between what the IPA says and what Adameer says it is reasonable to assume that Adameer is referring only to IPA's "political prisoners." In no way are they to be considered political prisoners in the Western sense of the term.)

Almost certainly the past eight years have seen the largest number of PalArab prisoners in Israeli prison history because of the intifada. Yet even if you assume that each prisoner is detained for only a single year and only arrested once, these past eight years add up to less than 50,000 prisoners; extrapolated to 1967 it would add up to under 200,000.

Even those assumptions are ridiculous. The IPA says that over 60% of prisoners have been arrested previously.

Addameer's own figures show they are lying. This testimony was given in July. Exactly one year earlier, Adameer submitted to the UN figures that Israel had detained over 700,000 prisoners since 1967. Did Israel arrest and jail 50,000 people in the past year?

In order for the 750,000 number to be accurate, it would mean roughly 500 arrests a week every week since 1967. In order for 50,000 new prisoners to appear this year, it would mean around a thousand arrests a week.

The PCHR keeps track of the number of Palestinian Arabs arrested every week. Taking the past two months as examples, we see the date of the weekly report and the number of arrests:

8/26 16
8/19 28
8/12 17
8/5 25
7/29 14
7/22 21
7/15 10
7/8 18
7/1 28

This doesn't quite add up to tens of thousands of arrests a year.

Addameer is lying, and lying on a huge scale. It is simply making up these numbers out of thin air.

The problem is, people believe them.

UN Special Rapporteur John Dugard has testified to these numbers in his reports to the UN.

Jimmy Carter has quoted these numbers as well.

Time magazine uncritically quoted Addameer's earlier figure of 650,000 prisoners this year.

And, as we have seen, Addameer testifies to these lies in front of any commission that is willing to listen to them.

These fake numbers are all over the Internet, usually with the addition (as Carter added) that this means that supposedly 24% of the Palestinian Arab population has been arrested at some point of their lives (again making the false assumption of one arrest per person, layering lies upon lies.)

It will be interesting to see if the Goldstone group repeats the lie in their report.

It is not hard to disprove these numbers bandied about as facts. Yet hardly anyone bothers to do so, while the lies multiply on their own.