Palestinian prisoners could face international extradition

Israel has released Palestinian prisoners from its jail in the past. But this exchange is especially touchy for a number of reasons, least of which might be the freshness of some of the attacks that landed these people in jail in the first place. But for the prisoners, this might not be the end of their time behind bars.

Some of the families of foreign-national or dual-national victims killed in these attacks could take their cases to their respective national courts and governments. A Palestinian prisoner like Ahlam Tamimi, one of the 27 woman being released, is being “exiled” to Jordan. Having been involved in an attack that left American and Dutch nationals dead, should could face extradition charges. Even if the Israeli Prime Minister signs a deal for their exchange, and the Israeli President official pardons them, does that hinder the rights of other leaders around the world to pursue them?

Jordan might find it difficult to refuse an extradition request by Washington of a Palestinian woman was responsible for the death of American citizens.

According to the Associate Press, here are some of those set to be released:

Nasser Yateima
The 34-year-old from the West Bank town of Tulkarem is serving 29 life terms for his role in an April 2002 suicide bombing at an Israeli hotel on Passover eve that killed 30 people and triggered Israel’s reoccupation of the West Bank, a military operation called “Defensive Shield.” He’s to be exiled outside Israel and the Palestinian territories.

Walid Abdel-Hadi
The 31-year-old from Ramallah is serving 36 life terms for his role in several attacks, including a March 2002 suicide bombing in a Jerusalem cafe that killed 11 people. He too is to be exiled.

Ahlam Tamimi
She started out as a Fatah activist, but switched allegiance to the Islamic militant Hamas. Aged 31, she’s to be deported to Jordan upon release from serving 16 life sentences for her role in a suicide bombing, including taking the assailant to the Sbarro franchise in Jerusalem where he killed 16 people in 2001.

Abdel Hadi Ghneim
He was arrested on July 6, 1989, the day he grabbed the steering wheel of an Israeli bus and sent it plunging into a ravine near Jerusalem. From Gaza and now 46, he’s serving 16 life sentences for the attack that killed 16 people, including two Canadians and an American. His son Thaer, 22, born just a day before the attack, says his father acted out of anger over the Israeli crackdown on the first Palestinian uprising, particularly a shooting that paralyzed a friend.

Israel may have had no choice but to let them go, but other countries might find it difficult to do the same, particularly if they have no soldiers being held by Palestinian groups, and even more so if they begin facing political pressure to pursue justice on behalf of their slain nationals.