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We have in the past expressed our dismay at U.S. pressure on Israel to release Palestinians from prison – many of them serving life sentences for murdering Israeli citizens – as confidence-building gestures to promote the peace process. That dismay was only exacerbated by the unwillingness of the U.S. to release convicted Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard, imprisoned now for nearly three decades.
After all, as Edward Snowden recently confirmed, countries spy on each other (friend and foe alike) all the time; the murder of civilians for political gain, on the other hand, still strikes civilized people as far from routine. So it always struck us as hypocritical that Israel was expected to release cold-blooded killers almost as a matter of habit while the U.S. balked at letting Pollard go.
The issue came into focus again this week with the news that Israel and the U.S. may be close to a deal in which Pollard would be freed in exchange for hundreds of Palestinian prisoners, a settlement freeze, and an Israeli commitment to extend negotiations well beyond Secretary of State Kerry’s original sell-by date.
Whether or not Mr. Pollard ends up in Israel as part of a release agreement, there is still something unseemly about Israel’s repeated and wholesale freeing of so many hard-core terrorists and criminals, a practice that subverts any notion of justice having been served and that turns the released monsters into heroic figures in the minds of impressionable young Palestinians.
And it’s not just young Palestinians who are given to romanticizing the deeds of freed killers. Naïve Western liberals are susceptible to falling hard for the well-worn trope of the political revolutionary who stoically serves his time only to emerge from his jail cell a better person. Exhibit A: New York Times Jerusalem bureau chief Jodi Rudoren, whose front-page mash note to a freed Palestinian prisoner this past Sunday read more like a cheesy romance novel than a dispatch by a foreign correspondent for a once great and still influential American newspaper.
Titled “Remaking a Life, After Years in an Israeli Prison,” Ms. Rudoren’s long article was filled with passages of the following cringe-inducing quality:
Muqdad Salah is a man in a hurry.
He inhales food, and bristles at lateness. His wife, Kefaya, said he expected her to make rooms immaculate immediately, “like a magician.” They married in November, and he is already pressing her to start fertility treatments.
“I want a son – or a daughter – I want someone to inherit me,” said Mr. Salah, 47, one of 78 long-serving Palestinian prisoners freed from Israeli jails as part of the American-brokered peace talks that started last summer….
It has been seven months since Mr. Salah was welcomed before dawn by a cacophonous crowd in this village of 4,000 near the Palestinian financial hub of Nablus….
Demonized as terrorists by Israelis and lionized as freedom fighters by Palestinians, prisoners like Mr. Salah have become a flash point in the troubled peace talks…. Amid the charged debate, these middle-aged men – 69 of them convicted of murder, 59 of them escaping life sentences – have begun to rebuild disrupted lives. They are earning their first drivers licenses, leveraging $50,000 grants from the Palestinian Authority to build apartments or start businesses, searching for wives and struggling to start families.
Mr. Salah was flush with more than $100,000 saved from the Palestinian Authority’s monthly payments to prisoners’ families. He remodeled and refurnished his mother’s home. He bulldozed the rocky slope out back and built a 2,400-square-foot pen for livestock. He invested in a Nablus money-changing storefront in December, and, last month, bought his first car, a silver 2007 Kia Pride.
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Latvia, July 4, 1941 they forced many Jews in the shul putting it on fire; everyone was burned alive
There’s blood on the reporters’ hands AND New Israel Fund for funding groups feeding lies to the UN
Respect & appreciation for our country is not only a civic value but an essential Jewish one as well
Israel, like the non-radical Islamic world. will be happy see the ISIS beheaded for once.
Kids shouldn’t have “uninstructed” Internet access, better to train them how to use it responsibly
What if years from now, IS were to control substantial territory? What world havoc would that wreak?
Rambam writes the verse’s double term refers to 2 messiahs: first King David; 2nd the final Mashiach
The Gaza flotilla has been rightfully and legally blocked by Israel’s Navy, with greetings from Bibi
The president described the attack as “an act that drew on a long history of bombs and arson and shots fired at churches, not random, but as a means of control, a way to terrorize and oppress…”
“The only [candidate] that’s going to give real support to Israel is me,” said the 69-year-old Trump.
And whereas at the outset the plan was that Iran would have to surrender most of its centrifuges, it will now be able to retain several thousand.
Now oil independent, US no longer needs its former strategic alliances with Gulf States-or Israel
Can adoption agencies limit the placement of children to heterosexual couples only?
It wasn’t too long ago that Mr. Erdogan, in his determination to burnish Turkey’s credentials as an Islamist state at the cost of the secularism that had brought much economic and political success to Turkey, upended his country’s decades-long cooperative relationship with Israel.
Does the pope really believe that Father Dehon’s destructive anti-Jewish calumnies do not disqualify him from the highest honor of the Catholic Church because in his time everyone did it?
There was something else of great importance in play – something we would have liked to see him take into account before deciding to stand with the boycotters.
“Let’s get something straight so we don’t kid each other…[the Iranians] already have paved a path to a bomb’s worth of material,” said Mr. Biden. “Iran could get there now if they walked away in two to three months without a deal.”
Beyond the particulars of this tragic death, however, we should all be concerned about the possibility that a criminal prosecution in a major American city is being driven by fear of mobs in the street.
Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/editorial/turning-killers-into-heroes/2014/04/02/
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