Newsmax criticizes the AP's coverage of the release of Palestinian prisoners

From the November 27, 2023, edition of Newsmax's Rob Schmitt Tonight

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Right-wing media falsely claimed released Palestinian prisoners were mostly convicted criminals and terrorists

During the recent weeklong truce in Gaza, Israel released 240 Palestinian prisoners in exchange for 105 hostages held by Hamas. Despite reports that a majority of the Palestinian prisoners were never convicted of a crime, right-wing media figures pushed to paint them all as convicted criminals and terrorists.

  • Most Palestinian prisoners released or proposed for release by the Israeli government were not convicted criminals, and many were children

    • On November 22, the Israeli government published a list of hundreds of Palestinian prisoners for potential release. The Intercept reported that “124 of the prisoners are under the age of 18, including a 15-year-old girl, and many of the 146 who are 18 years old turned so in Israeli prisons.” [Israeli Ministry of Justice, 11/22/23; The Intercept, 11/26/23]
    • Around 80% of the Palestinian prisoners on Israel’s list were not convicted of any crime. NBC News reported, “They were either charged with crimes that had not yet been prosecuted, or were detained under a practice known as administrative detention, whereby Israel holds Palestinians in the occupied territories with no formal charges or evidence presented against them.” [NBC News, 11/30/23]
    • Less than half of the people on Israel’s list were accused of any affiliations with Hamas or Islamic Jihad. Notably, 28 of the hundreds of potential released prisoners were accused of attempted murder or “causing death on purpose,” while 87 were charged for “throwing stones.” Even then, most people on the list were never convicted of any crime. [CBC, 11/30/23]
    • Israel did not include anyone who was convicted of murder on the list. The Guardian reported that most of the prisoners on the list for potential release were “held for stone throwing, damaging property, having contact with ‘hostile’ organizations, as well as more serious charges including stabbings and making explosives.” [The Guardian, 11/22/23]
    • Throughout the weeklong truce from November 24-30, a total of 240 Palestinian prisoners were released. Three-quarters had not been convicted of a crime and 107 were under the age of 18. Five were as young as 14 although every Palestinian male released was a teenager, with the oldest turning 19 in Israeli custody. [The New York Times, 12/1/23]
  • Right-wing media falsely claimed the Palestinian prisoners released or proposed for release were largely convicted criminals

    • Fox guest and former Trump administration official Richard Goldberg claimed the prisoners “were people who were in Israeli jails because they were convicted of committing terror-related crimes. These are people who tried to kill Jews.” Goldberg stated the prisoners on the list to be released are “people who are involved in terrorism going right back into the West Bank, going into East Jerusalem, free to rejoin the battlefield.” [Fox News, The Ingraham Angle, 11/22/23
    • Newsmax Jerusalem correspondent Daniel Cohen claimed that “they’re not prisoners, these are terrorists who were convicted in a court of law, who committed violent acts against Jewish people here in Israel.” [Newsmax, The National Report, 11/24/23]
    • Fox anchor John Roberts: “Obviously, they will have a warm reception when these convicted criminals are released back into the general population.” [Fox News, America Reports, 11/28/23
    • Newsmax host Rob Finnerty: “The majority of these Palestinian prisoners that are being released are convicted felons, criminals.” Finnerty doubled down on this claim a few days later, falsely stating that the released prisoners include “more than 200 people that were convicted of felonies,” adding that “bad guys are being released from Israeli jails to appease Hamas.” [Newsmax, Wake Up America, 11/29/23; 12/1/23]
    • Fox News host Brian Kilmeade: “Just take a look at the side-by-sides — we are getting women and children in exchange for convicted prisoners.” [Fox News, Outnumbered, 11/29/23
    • Fox guest and former U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman claimed, “The Israelis are getting back innocent women and children and Israel is giving up convicted criminals, people who had attempted or succeeded in terror attacks.” Friedman added that “Israelis love their children, Americans love their children,” while “Palestinians have a culture of death.” [Fox News, Your World with Neil Cavuto, 11/29/23
    • On X (previously known as Twitter), former U.S. Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell claimed that the released prisoners “are criminals. Convicted in the fairest justice system in the region.” [Twitter/X, 11/24/23]
    • On Fox's “straight news” program America Reports, former Trump administration official Adam Boehler also claimed that the released Palestinian prisoners were “convicted criminals” being exchanged for Israeli hostages. [Fox News, America Reports, 11/29/23
  • Right-wing media suggested the Palestinian prisoners released or proposed for release were almost all “terrorists” and “murderers”

    • Ben Shapiro claimed that the Israeli government is “trading terrorists” to Hamas in exchange for women and children. Shapiro said, “Israel will also release some 150 Palestinian terrorists for women and minors. In other words, a democratic government is trading terrorists for innocent women and children being held by a terrorist group.” [Westwood One, The Ben Shapiro Show, 11/22/23
    • On his radio show, Fox host Sean Hannity falsely claimed that Israel was releasing three “convicted terrorists” in exchange for every one hostage being freed by Hamas. Hannity said, “The sickest part of all of this is the idea that somehow there is a comparison. You have convicted terrorists 3-to-1 being released by Israel to get back one Israeli or American hostage, and somehow there are people defending that fundamental unfairness.” [Premiere Radio Networks, The Sean Hannity Show, 11/27/23
    • Newsmax host Rob Schmitt: “Minors and women? They're terrorists. These are all terrorists.” [Newsmax, Rob Schmitt Tonight, 11/27/23]
    • Fox News host Greg Gutfeld: “The prisoners are mostly convicted terrorists.” Gutfeld then said the difference between hostages held by Hamas and the Palestinian prisoners is like “apples to oranges if the oranges liked to scream ‘Allahu Akbar’ before they blow up innocent people.” [Fox News, Gutfeld!, 11/27/23
    • Newsmax host Bianca de la Garza claimed, “It's the trade-off, three Palestinian prisoners — terrorists — get released for every hostage released.” [Newsmax, Newsline, 11/29/23]
    • Discussing the Israeli hostages, Fox News contributor and National Review Institute senior fellow Douglas Murray claimed that “each of these children and young people is being swapped for three people in Israeli prisons who are stabbers, murderers, bomb carriers.” [Fox News, The Story with Martha MacCallum, 11/30/23]
    • Newsmax contributor and former Trump official Fred Fleitz: “This is not a prisoner exchange, this is the exchange of innocent hostages for bloodthirsty killers.” Moments later, Fleitz said, “These people who are being let out of prison, they really are monsters.” [Newsmax, Newsline, 11/27/23]
  • Right-wing media denied or downplayed the fact that 107 of the Palestinian prisoners released were children

    • Newsmax correspondent Christina Thompson claimed that the released prisoners are “not children and teens, as the establishment media is reporting. They are charged with real terrorism crimes.” [Newsmax, The National Report, 11/24/23]
    • During a segment on the prisoner exchange, Newsmax host Bianca de la Garza claimed the released Palestinians “are not children, despite some of those reports.” [Newsmax, Newsline, 11/27/23]
    • Newsmax guest and former Oklahoma state House Speaker T.W. Shannon falsely claimed “there aren't any children of Palestinian descent that Israel's holding.” In fact, hundreds of Palestinian minors are detained each year, and 146 minors were in Israeli custody as of September, before Hamas’ October 7 attack. [Newsmax, Wake Up America, 11/28/23; Los Angeles Times, 12/1/23]
    • Fox News contributor Katie Pavlich dismissed the actual age of the released Palestinian prisoners, calling them “so-called children, teenagers who tried to kill Jews.” [Fox News, America Reports, 11/29/23