Photo Credit: Yonatan Sindel/Flash 90
Israelis protest PA terrorist prisoner release in demonstration at prime minister's residence in Jerusalem

As the State of Israel contemplates its plan this week to free a fourth group of Palestinian Authority terrorists, a victims’ advocacy group is up in arms.

The Legal Forum for the Land of Israel pointed out in a blunt statement, “One does not prevent wrongdoing with wrongdoing. A sovereign state negotiates without preconditions, without releasing murderers and without the violations of the rights of its citizens.”

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The government’s pledged “good will gesture” comes in response to pressure from the United States which insisted on the move in order to keep the PA at the negotiating table.

In addition, the PA is demanding a freeze on all construction in any areas it claims in talks for its desired future state. Such building includes anything as simple as repairs on driveways, additions to a porch, or a roof over stairs to a house, let alone adding a much-needed classroom or wing to a school in an existing Jewish village or town.

“Left-wing Knesset members have no moral right to decide that they freeze children who lack classrooms,” stated Forum executive director Nachi Eyal. “It’s hypocrisy and ugliness. Freeing [such] killers is a serious blow to the rule of law and equality before the law and it must be avoided at all costs – but one does not prevent a wrong with another wrong.”

The PA, meanwhile, has offered little in return – and has not returned to the negotiating table to seriously discuss any of the core issues since last November.

This is the same pattern of behavior displayed during the last series of good will gestures advanced by Israel under pressure from the United States. In 2009, the Jewish State was forced into a 10 month construction freeze in all Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria in hopes of enticing the PA back to the negotiating table.

PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas reappeared briefly for fruitless three meetings in September 2010 – the very end of the period – after being literally dragged to the White House by Egyptian and Jordanian leaders. But he immediately backed out when Israel would not agree to more preconditions and an extension of the freeze.

Likud Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon reminded the prime minister of that behavior, and threatened last week in a letter to quit his post over the issue.

“I have come to a decision:  I will not be part of the executive branch — the cabinet — if it approves and goes through with an additional prisoner release as part of the ‘fourth round’ that is supposed to take place on the 28th of this month,” he wrote to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. “The day that the first Palestinian murderer walks free from prison, I will submit a letter of resignation from my post of deputy defense minister of the Israeli government.

“Those who supported the release claimed that it is a worthwhile price to pay for the hope of advancing peace with the Palestinians… In the meantime it has become clear that as expected, the Palestinians took advantage, and not for the first time, of our desire for peace and naivete, to trick us. They pretended to negotiate, and we released vile murderers,” he wrote.

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.

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