United Hatzalah program honors our survivors, war veterans with specialized medical care
Last week, in return for a video – not the freedom of a kidnap victim, but a video of a kidnap victim – Israel freed 20 Palestinian prisoners. This has to stop.
At one time Israel would release terrorists – but not those with “blood on their hands” and only in return for living Israelis. In July 2008, however, Israel had agreed to release to Hizbullah a gruesome murderer, Samir Kuntar, and four others prisoners in return for the corpses of two kidnapped Israelis.
In August 2008, Israel also freed a further 198 jailed terrorists, including two with blood on their hands and 149 others guilty of attempted murder, as a “confidence-building measure.”
Clearly, Israel is giving more and receiving less – and that is not the worst of it. The fact is, freed terrorists frequently return to terror and end up murdering more Israelis.
The evidence for this is clear: Col. Meir Indor, director of Almagor Terrorist Victims Association (ATVA), disclosed in April 2007 that 177 Israelis killed in terror attacks in the previous five years had been killed by terrorists freed on the basis that they were “without blood on their hands.”
An earlier ATVA report showed that 123 Israelis had been murdered by terrorists freed during the years 1993-99.
This exposes the fraudulence of the criterion “without blood on their hands,” which lulled the Israeli public into thinking no serious danger was courted by freeing terrorists.
This was an illusion, and the loss of more lives was inevitable. “Without blood on their hands” is a misleading criterion that encompasses those convicted for attempting to kill, for planting or throwing bombs or for shooting at Israelis in attacks that just happened to prove non-lethal.
Israelis were fooling themselves if they thought freeing attempted murderers and accessories to murder carried few risks.
Additionally, such releases provide a major incentive for more kidnappings of Israelis. As Hamas chief Khaled Meshaal said only days ago, “The resistance … is capable of capturing [another] Shalit and [another] Shalit and [another] Shalit, until not a single prisoner will remain in the enemy’s jails.”
Yet for years Israelis have been inundated with false arguments for releasing terrorists. It has been argued that Israel would not risk more kidnappings by releasing, for example, about 1,000 Palestinian prisoners in return for Shalit, because if Hamas could kidnap more soldiers it would, regardless of the price paid for Shalit’s release.
This is simply dangerous nonsense. As the cited evidence indicates, the chief security issue raised by releasing Palestinian terrorists is not only more kidnappings, serious and real as that problem is, but freed prisoners murdering more Israelis. This aspect of the problem is routinely ignored in discussion of prisoner releases.
The August 2008 prisoner release was described by analyst Yossi Alpher as a “smart and courageous move” because “draconian sentences” on jailed terrorists create “incentives” for other terrorists to kidnap Israelis in order to spring those locked up. This is shortsighted. Israel’s willingness to release live terrorists in return for even dead soldiers provided the terrorists all the incentive they required.
Alpher claims such releases could be used as “confidence building measures.” He did not mention that freeing even hundreds of terrorists has never improved Israel’s standing among Arabs, moderated their demands or mollified their hatred.
As Brig.-Gen. (res.) Shalom Harari of the Institute for Counter-Terrorism at the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya noted after the August 2008 prisoner release: “On the morning after … we heard Fatah blaming Israel. Whatever happens, they will blame Israel and fault everyone except for themselves.”
It has also been argued that those who oppose the exchange of jailed Arab terrorists in return for kidnapped Israelis should put themselves in the shoes of the families of the kidnap victims and then test their resolve.
This argument is no less false for being emotionally manipulative. Would we allow relatives of people held up by bank robbers to decide whether or not the police accede to the demands of their captors? The duty of the state is to protect its citizens. Therefore, the most important consideration must be preventing the loss of further lives to terror.
Moreover, when Israel frees terrorists for corpses, it endangers the lives of those kidnapped because it demonstrates that their deaths pose no obstacle to an exchange. This puts the lives of other kidnap victims in jeopardy.
Let us be clear: we deeply sympathize with Israeli families whose sons are kidnapped by bloodthirsty terrorists. We would support virtually any efforts to bring them home safely. But when the record plainly shows that releasing terrorists brings only more terror and tragedy, we must regretfully accept the fact that Israel will save more lives by not rewarding kidnappings through terrorist releases.
About the Author: Morton A. Klein is national president of the Zionist Organization of America. Dr. Daniel Mandel is director of the ZOA's Center for Middle East Policy.
If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.
Comments are closed.
Egypt has been more effective against Gazan smuggling tunnels than Israel’s military operations
She had many names and was many things to many people, but to me she was just Babineni.
Is ISIS in Gaza? “No, but there are ISIS loyalists here..we pray to God they unite under ISIS’ flag”
Iran knows Obama, Putin, and the Europeans don’t have a Red Line beyond which they will go to war
There is no way to explain the Holocaust. I know survivors who are not on speaking terms with G-d. I know many who are the opposite. I have no right to go there…
When a whole side of your family perishes, friends become the extended family you do not have.
“We stand with Israel because of its values and its greatness and because its such a wonderful ally”
Mr. Obama himself inelegantly cautioned members of the Senate to be careful not to “screw up” the negotiations by seeking to have input into the future of the sanctions regime that has been imposed on Iran.
For our community, Mrs. Clinton’s foreign policy record will doubtless attract the most attention. And it is a most interesting one.
Mitchell Bard is nothing if not prolific. He has written and edited 23 books, including “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Middle East” and “The Arab Lobby: The Invisible Alliance That Undermines America’s Interests in the Middle East.” Bard, who has a Ph.D. in political science from UCLA, is also the executive director of both the […]
Understanding the process described in Dayenu reveals deep relevance for us today.
For Rabbi Zvi Yehuda Kook, the tanks, planes, and uniforms of the IDF were implements of mitzvot
For 6 years Obama’s made concessions to Iran without preventing it from becoming a nuclear power
In this morally unjust, tactically unwise, strategically harmful, militarily hazardous and life-endangering unilateral concession, we see the erosion of Israeli will.
President Obama spent his first term pushing from power longstanding Arab allies in Egypt and Tunisia, seeking to engage the now blood-soaked Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, pulling his punches against Iran’s nuclear program, and putting “daylight” between his administration and Israel.
The United Nations General Assembly’s vote to make “Palestine” a “non-member state” of the UN has done no less than legitimize the two Palestinian regimes that promote terrorism and Israel’s destruction. How can the world claim to be fighting terrorism when it has just declared that two terrorist regimes should enjoy sovereignty?
A recent news item shed piercing light on the reason for the intractability of the Arab war on Israel. The well-known 1970s disco group Boney M, invited by the Palestine International Festival to give a concert in Palestinian Authority-controlled Ramallah, was pressured to drop performing one of its signature hit songs, “Rivers of Babylon.”
Recent polls show that Americans, American Jews and Israelis all disapprove of President Obama’s policies toward Israel. One reason for the disapproval that emerges in these polls is that the Obama administration pressures and criticizes Israel, while giving Mahmoud Abbas’s Palestinian Authority a free pass.
Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/releasing-killers-endangers-israelis/2009/10/14/
Scan this QR code to visit this page online: