Why All the Fuss About Palestinian Prisoners/Martyrs?

Recorded March 11, 2022

Listen to this conversation as a podcast

This webinar is Part 5 of an 8-part series of webinars. For more information regarding this series, and links to the other sessions, please click here.

Featuring Jawad Boulus (Palestinian human rights lawyer), Sahar Francis (Addameer), and Shibley Telhami (Brookings/University of Maryland).

 In this session we explored issues surrounding Palestinian public views, and Palestinian Authority/PLO policy, related to Palestinians killed and imprisoned by Israel, and how this issue has become enmeshed in debates in Congress over U.S. assistance for Palestinians.


Resources shared during the webinar

Jawad Boulus

Sahar Francis

Shibley Telhami


Other links

BBC Sept 6, 2021: Six Palestinian prisoners escape Israeli jail through tunnel

New York Times Sept 18, 2021: Israel Captures Last 2 Palestinian Inmates Still Free After Prison Break

CNN April 14, 2002: Palestinian leader charged in Israeli attacks

Al Arabiya Dec 23, 2013: Iconic Palestinian hunger striker freed

The PLO’s webpage for their Commission for Detainee and Ex-Detainee Affairs

Read the Taylor Force Act here: https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/1164

The Nation Aug 17, 2017: Cutting Off Payments to Palestinian Families Won’t Stop Terrorism (Lara Friedman)

Haaaetz: Netanyahu Used Doctored Video of Abbas to Influence Trump’s Policy, Woodward Reveals

Al Jazeera Jan 4, 2022: Palestinian prisoners launch boycott of Israeli military courts

TRT Jan 5, 2022: ‘Battle of empty stomachs’: a timeline of key Palestinian hunger strikes

Brookings Feb 27, 2012: Will Nonviolent Protest Spark a “Palestinian Spring”? [Lara Friedman & Khaled Elgindy]

Amnesty International Feb 1, 2022: Israel’s apartheid against Palestinians: Cruel system of domination and crime against humanity

Human Rights Watch Apr 27, 2021: A Threshold Crossed — Israeli Authorities and the Crimes of Apartheid and Persecution

Btselem Jan 12, 2021: A regime of Jewish supremacy from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea: This is apartheid

MEI/FMEP event 10/29/21: Israel’s Designation of Six Palestinian NGOs as “Terrorist”: Costs and Consequences

UN statement about Mohammed Al Halabi Nov 12, 2020: Gaza Aid Worker Must be Given Fair Trial or Released, Say UN Experts

Read the Palestinian National Conciliation Document of the Prisoners here.

BBC July 20, 2013: Israel to free Palestinian prisoners over Kerry talks



 Jawad Boulus is a renowned Palestinian human rights lawyer, political commentator, and author. Boulus was born into a Christian family in the small Arab Galilee village of Kafr Yaseef in 1956, and graduated from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in 1980. As a Palestinian with Israeli citizenship, Boulus has been deeply involved in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the fight for Palestinian human rights for over 40 years. He currently publishes a notable weekly opinion column in Arabic which is circulated in numerous local and international printed newspapers and online magazines. He is the Director of the Legal Unit of the Palestinian Prisoners’ Club in Ramallah. He serves as Co-Chair on the Board of Directors to ‘Hand in Hand,’ a network of integrated bilingual schools for Jewish and Arab children in Israel. Boulus also serves as Secretary to the Mahmoud Darwish Association for Innovation. His own law firm is based in Jerusalem, where he resides with his wife Jumana.

Sahar Francis has since 2006 been the General Director of Ramallah-based Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association, a Palestinian NGO providing legal and advocacy support to Palestinian political prisoners in Israeli and Palestinian prisons. An attorney by training, she joined the association in 1998, first as a human rights lawyer, then as head of the Legal Unit. With over sixteen years of human rights experience, including human rights counseling and representation, Ms. Francis also was on the Board of Defence for Children International – Palestine Section for 4 years, and currently sets in the Board of the Union of Agricultural Work Committees.

Shibley Telhami is a nonresident senior fellow with the Center for Middle East Policy, in the Foreign Policy program at Brookings. He is the Anwar Sadat Professor for Peace and Development at the University of Maryland. In the past, Telhami served as a senior advisor to the U.S. Department of State, advisor to the U.S. Mission to the United Nations, advisor to Congressman Lee Hamilton, and as a member of the Iraq Study Group. Shibley is an expert on U.S. policy in the Middle East, on Arab politics, and on shifting political identities in the Arab world. He regularly conducts public opinion polls in the Arab world, Israel, and the United States. Among his many publications are “The World Through Arab Eyes: Arab Public Opinion and the Reshaping of the Middle East” (Basic Books, 2013), “The Peace Puzzle: America’s Quest for Arab-Israeli Peace 1989-2011” (Cornell University Press, 2013), and the best-selling “The Stakes: America in the Middle East” (Basic Books, 2003), selected by Foreign Affairs as one of the top five books for that year. In addition, he was selected by the Carnegie Corporation of New York with the New York Times as one of the “Great Immigrants” for 2013.