In the course of human events, there are moments when choosing a particular fork in the road means you have altered not just where you’re going, but also, necessarily, who you are.
A case in point is a recent televised interview given by PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, which Palestinian Media Watch has taken the trouble to translate and disseminate. In it, Abbas is making a cogent point in support of the release of the thousands of Palestinian prisoners from Israeli jails, once the two-state solution has been reached.
Abbas says: “I demand [the release of] prisoners because they are human beings, who did what we, we, ordered them to do. We – the [Palestinian] Authority. They should not be punished while we sit at one table negotiating. Besides, they spent many years in prison. How much longer? Do they have to spend all their life in prison and even die there?”
So the interviewer asks the obvious question, what about those Palestinian prisoners who have murdered Jewish civilians, whole families, including babies in their cribs and pregnant women who were begging for their two lives and were slaughtered just the same?
“How can we deal with [the Israelis'] criteria of bloodstained hands?” he asks.
To which Abbas responds: “Such talk is illogical talk and I do not accept it. What does a bloodstained hand mean? We were fighting each other. They kill and kill. They hunt down people with planes and tanks and killed. The soldier who kills 50 or 20 persons here and there – are his hands stained with talc powder? They are stained with blood.”
He’s right, of course. In a world in which the Arabs of Eretz Israel—who rejected the 1947 plan that gave them two thirds of the land, and the rest for the Jews—get a second chance to grab at least a portion of that land and make it, albeit belatedly, a country with recognized borders and embassies and some form of an army – in that world Abbas is right and we are wrong.
As soon as we’ve accepted the idea of “land for peace,” we sanctioned all those murders of innocent Jews. We elevated the other side to a position of legitimacy, therefore we’ve also elevated his means of doing war to legitimacy. Suicide bombers shredding children to pieces are now an acceptable form of warfare, not by Palestinian standards — but by Israeli standards!
The history of the last 50 years in Africa is marked with countless examples of wanted criminals, who, on occasion, have been known to commit atrocities against their European rulers and their loved ones—only to turn virtually instantaneously into presidents and parliamentarians and ambassadors, some times serving in the very countries that had reluctantly granted them independence.
Argues (soon to be President) Abbas: “This is war. [Israel] ordered a soldier to kill, and I ordered my son, brother, or others, to carry out the duty of resistance (euphemism for terror). This person killed and the other person killed. So why say this person’s hands are stained with blood, and [he] must be kept in prison? He is a fighter just like any other fighter. We were in a state of fighting.”
Only in a context in which the Arab claim to ownership of a land to which they are not entitled can we make the claim that their prisoners who spilled innocent Jewish blood are mere criminals who should have been executed, but, alas, shall spend the remainder of their lives memorizing the holy Koran on their bunk beds.
We can’t have it both ways. And so, if we support a two-state solution, as our Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appears to be, we will have no choice but to release all four to six thousand prisoners, bona fide POWs every last one of them.
“When a truce is reached, in any country in the world, the past is forgotten,” argues Abbas. “What meaning is there to peace with the Israelis if the wanted continues to be wanted, the prisoner continues to be imprisoned, and the deportee continues to be deported? What am I worth in the eyes of the ordinary [Palestinian] citizen? The ordinary citizen will ask me: ‘What did you get me? You ordered me – you are responsible for me.’”
I’ll tell you, it appears that Chairman Abbas cares for his people a whole lot more than the folks on our side do for their own. As they continue to scheme, in hiding, always behind closed doors, always in the dark, always in secret, to eliminate yet another swath of Jewish towns and villages. Just as they did in Gaza, they will—at the same time, possibly on the same day—release the murderers from their prison cells and turn tens of thousands of Jews into the new refugees.
Somebody should tell UNRWA not to close down shop – there are new refugees happening in Palestine…
About the Author: Yori Yanover has been a working journalist since age 17, before he enlisted and worked for Ba'Machane Nachal. Since then he has worked for Israel Shelanu, the US supplement of Yedioth, JCN18.com, USAJewish.com, Lubavitch News Service, Arutz 7 (as DJ on the high seas), and the Grand Street News. He has published Dancing and Crying, a colorful and intimate portrait of the last two years in the life of the late Lubavitch Rebbe, (in Hebrew), and two fun books in English: The Cabalist's Daughter: A Novel of Practical Messianic Redemption, and How Would God REALLY Vote.
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