Mid-East joy at BBC man’s release


Posted by the listening project on Thursday, July 5th, 2007
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We were so happy to hear that Alan Johnston was free. He was on our side, he was innocent and he had nothing to do with the occupation.

Palestinian journalists
Palestinian journalists celebrate the release of Alan Johnston

It is not the Palestinian way to treat guests badly; it was shameful to make him suffer like that.

We know what it’s like not to be free: we have many prisoners in Israeli jails - and Gaza is a big prison. So, we really respect the brave journalists who come here to show the world what is happening.

I would love to meet him one day and say: ‘Forgive us - it wasn’t the wish of the general people that you were held like that. We don’t agree what happened to you’.

We feel the lack of someone like Alan Johnston. It’s the Palestinians’ loss that he had to leave in this way.

SAID ABDELWAHED, UNIVERSITY LECTURER, GAZA CITY

I was very happy this ended peacefully. I was so worried, because the kidnappers are not respected in Gaza. They are ruthless criminals who are shameful to the Palestinian people.

They seized someone who helped Palestinians in Gaza through his professional journalism - at a time when other journalists couldn’t reach Gaza through fear of just such a thing happening.

These people suddenly assumed a religious name - the Army of Islam - but it was fake. They are not known as Muslims - they are known for their criminal activities and for creating disorder.

I welcome the happy end to the tragedy of Alan Johnston’s kidnapping.

AGOMAN DAVID, 26, ENTREPRENEUR, TEL AVIV

It’s a good thing, a positive thing, because the captivity of anyone is terrible.

I think the kidnapping of Alan Johnston kept journalists from going to Gaza. But now I think more of them will return.

There are too many foreign journalists here but sometimes it is good to have the eye of the world focusing on us - it can prevent violence.

I hope Gilad Shilat [the captured Israeli soldier] will be next.

Maybe it would be good if Israel talked to Hamas to get him free.

OHAD ALON, 33, CAFE OWNER, TEL AVIV

The release of every prisoner is a good thing.

It doesn’t matter that this was a plot by Hamas to make itself look better: Alan Johnston is free.

But what it does show is that when Hamas wants something to happen, then it can. Maybe they will release Gilad Shalit.

I don’t think the release of Alan Johnston really changes anything substantially apart for his family and friends.

But his release does give Israelis some sense of hope about our soldiers. That’s our national anthem - Tikva [”hope” in Hebrew].

NASIM SHAHEEN, 33, RESEARCHER, RAMALLAH

We, the Palestinian people, appreciate all the foreigners who work in the occupied territories.

They tell the people around the world about our situation and our struggles.

I’m so happy that Alan Johnston has been released and is alive. It is against our culture to harm those who help us.

I followed this issue for months and I’m just so happy that he will see his parents again.

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