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April 19, 2014 / 19 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘michael palmer’

A Prize for Murder

Sunday, May 12th, 2013

Imagine that a man has kidnapped a girl at gunpoint. He is promised that if he frees her, he will be absolved of all guilt and permitted to go back home. Do you really think that such a person would be let off the hook just because of that promise?

Jamal Tirawi is a senior Fatah and Tanzim operative from Shechem (Nablus). He is the one who dispatched suicide terrorist Muhanan Ibrahim Salahat to My Coffee Shop in Tel Aviv in the spring of 2002. The attack resulted in the murder of Rachel Cherki and the wounding of another thirty victims. Yet the Military Court of Appeals at Camp Ofer decided this week to free Tirawi and annul the sentence of thirty years’ imprisonment he had received. The explanation given: Israel once indicated that it was removing hundreds of terrorists from its list of wanted criminals on the condition that they not engage in terrorist activities, and Israel is required to fulfill this promise. There is nothing of greater importance, reasoned the judges, than that the state fulfill its promises.

With this, the court adopted the position of Avigdor Feldman, the attorney who had defended the murderer. Feldman made no bones about the crimes committed by his client—he simply found a way around them. Meanwhile, the IDF Advocate General, representatives of the ISA, and the first panel of judges to hear the case asserted that the terrorist had returned to terrorism, thus violating the condition on which he had been removed from the list in the first place.

Embarrassingly, the terrorist was permitted to go free.

The victims of his crime were not even notified of his appeal. The very night after he was exonerated, the authorities brought Tirawi to the Balata neighborhood of Shechem and released him. He received an adoring welcome from thousands of young people, some carrying weapons. The message was clear: someone who murders Jews will regain his freedom sooner or later.

Where was IDF Central Command head General Nitzan Alon when all this happened? Part of his job is to approve rulings by the military courts under his command. Why didn’t he, or else the chief of staff, suspend the ruling so that the terrorists’ victims could file their own appeal and petition the Supreme Court to annul the ruling?

According to the legal advice obtained by Almagor from retired judges, including judges who worked in military law, the appeals court’s ruling was nothing short of scandalous. Aside from the fact that the court simply ignored the terrorist’s return to terrorism, the judges were interfering in an inherently political matter. A state has the right to announce a political or military course of action with regard to another country or entity, and then change course. This is outside of a court’s ambit. The Supreme Court has said precisely this in dozens of cases filed by Almagor and others against the release of terrorists. What is more, the Israeli policy was never issued publicly or officially, and it was part of an understanding reached with the PA, not the wanted criminals themselves.

Nevertheless, for the time being, the terrorist is home and the family of the woman he murdered is again in mourning.

Asleep at the Wheel

This week, on 9 May, Rabbi Moshe Levinger received the Moskowitz Prize for Zionism.

In 1967, Rabbi Levinger took responsibility. He led the public to settle Hevron, and from there proceeded to the remainder of Judea and Samaria (the West Bank). It was not the state that did this. The settlement enterprise grew from the grassroots: it was the public that pushed and recruited the political echelon and the state.

The war on terrorism equally must not be left to military men and politicians.

Here are a few examples of successful campaigns against terrorism. Granted, whatever success is attained is scant comfort for the bereaved families, but as far as the murderers’ potential next victims are concerned, the difference is between life and death. The same goes for the many soldiers who endangered their lives to arrest and imprison the terrorists, and were spared from doing so again.

Michael Palmer, whose son Asher was murdered with his own son in a rock-throwing attack near Halhul, came from America to be present at the trial of those who had murdered his loved ones. He retained a lawyer and, along with a group of friends, attends every session held by the court. The judge, a man who had decided in the past that those who throw rocks do not necessarily do so out of intent to murder, determined this time that rocks are lethal weapons. So far the head murderer, Wa’al al-Arja, has received a life sentence.

Had the father not been present at the court, it is more than likely that a plea deal would have crept up over the course of the trial. By virtue of their constant presence, Palmer and his friends brought about an outright conviction.

In another instance, the mothers of the students murdered in Naharayim by a Jordanian soldier extemporized a memorial ceremony outside the Jordanian embassy, following the publication of a letter signed by a hundred Jordanian parliamentarians calling for the release of the murderer. The mothers met with the Jordanian ambassador and extracted a promise from him as a representative of Jordan that the murderer would not be released.

That was a sterling example of civil responsibility.

Alongside acts of murder and destruction, the terrorism machine runs a sophisticated civil support system including jurists, authors, artists, journalists, and more. There needs to be a parallel civilian movement to oppose them. Otherwise, there will continue to be reprises of what happened with Samir Issawi, a terrorist who was released in the Schalit Deal. That deal was conditioned on the terrorists’ not breaking any laws: otherwise they were to return to prison to serve out their sentences. Issawi resumed illegal activities, was caught, and went on a hunger strike. A group of authors appealed to Netanyahu for him, a leftist women’s group broke into the hospital where he was located, Haaretz lent its support, and Netanyahu surrendered. The public failed to wake up and do something. Netanyahu gave instructions to make a deal with the terrorists’ lawyers allowing him to be released early, and instead of ten years, he ended up with eight months!

At Almagor, bereaved parents and terror victims give of their time to fight a civil, political, legal, and media struggle against terrorism. They view themselves as soldiers without uniforms. Their battle cry is “Al magor!” “No fear!”

You don’t have to be a victim to fight terrorism. Join us. Together we’ll put an end to the decline of our national endurance in the face of terrorism.

Originally published in Mekor Rishon, May 10, 2013. Translated from Hebrew by David Greenberg.

Correction notice: This article has been corrected to reflect the fact that as of yet, only one of the alleged murderers has been sentenced. 

A Father’s Unending Love

Sunday, May 5th, 2013

Unfortunately all too many families, like the Palmer family, have had to experience the excruciating pain and shock that completely overtakes every fiber of your being when the terrible news that a family member(s) are tragically lost. In the blink of an eye many lives are forever changed.

What are the thoughts, the memories that run through the minds of the families as they recollect upon the lives of the victims? I cannot pickup my grandson. I cannot give either of them hugs and kisses and bounce my grandson on my knee. It’s not fair.

Michael Palmer (father of Asher and grandfather of Yonatan), agonizingly recounts in court about the murder of two precious and innocent lives, bringing to life within the walls of the military court the victim’s presence. Asher and Yonatan’s murderers were not acquainted with them; they murdered them merely because they were Jews.

While recalling the birth of his son, Michael exuded pride and unending love. It is a poignant and elated moment in every father’s life.

From the miracle of a his son’s creation, through the 9 months of protecting and nurturing within his mother womb, finally a new little life emerges into the world – and his life begins. No words can satisfactorily describe the joy and love which resonates in the heart of a father, as he looks upon his son.

Time and interaction create an unbreakable bond between a father and son. Sounds of laughter, as well as many tears, fill their lives as they face together the many challenges that life has to bring. That is what a father does.

One day the Michael turns around and his son is all grown up. The next stage of life begins. Asher must build a life with a good career to help support his family. Asher’s goal in life was to combine Torah and a career in the Israeli high-tech industry in order to strengthen Jewish life in the land of Israel. He will find himself a Kallah (Bride), get married and build his own family. Asher met his bride Puah, got married and began building his family. He too will know what it means to be father. For a very short time, Asher also knew what it meant to be a father.

This is the cycle of life.

THEN SUDDENLY IT IS ALL GONE!

Suddenly a life of joy and happiness becomes a life of tears, pain and unbearable grief. Shattered are all dreams; life’s goals and plans to build a family, a career and a home are gone – in one swift moment in time.

How do we carry on, asked Michael?

Friday September 23, 2011, the news of the heinous murder of Asher and Yonatan shatters Erev Shabbat, a day of joy and celebration of HaShem’s creation of the world.

Then the dreaded knock at the door, Asher’s mother opens the door and immediately she knows. She sees the officers standing in front of her and she knows why they are there.

Asher’s mother stands there in silence as the head officer asks her the usual precise and enquiring questions to be sure he is informing the right family.

A chilling scream of NO is exclaimed after receiving the horrific news; breaking the silence.

No consolation exists for the parents of the victims or their families, for murder is always

SUDDEN -

no preparation exists for this moment,

VIOLENT

– someone has destroyed the life of your child in an act of violence,

DELIBERATE

– someone has intentionally committed this heinous crime.

Traumatized by the grief and disbelief the Palmer’s feel almost paralyzed. Please tell us this is all a dream, a sick joke. How can this be happening to us? They lose belief in humanity, and ask can anyone be trusted again? The loss becomes a process of dealing with both religious ceremonies and of course the justice system, if the murderers are caught.

First is the funeral. The funeral, often thought of as part of the healing process, is obviously not the thought on the minds of those who have lost a loved one. What is? Who really knows other than those who are suffering the loss? Everyone comes to their victimization with different life experiences. Two people experiencing similar victimization will inevitably have different reactions. How can a family begin coping with the pain, endless tears, grief beyond words, a feeling of helplessness and loss of control. As if by rote, everything occurs as it should and yet all events are like a blur of sequences. There is not way to bring back their loved ones. “We too are victims”, cry the victim’s family, “The question is can we become survivors?”

Palmer on Personal Connection to Rock Throwing in Israel

Thursday, April 11th, 2013

(((CLICK BELOW TO HEAR AUDIO)))

Yishai is joined by Michael Palmer, father of the slain Asher Palmer (one of Yishai’s neighbors in Beit El). A stone thrown at Asher’s car caused it to veer off the road and both Asher and baby son, Yonatan, were killed. The stone thrower was just convicted in this landmark case and Yishai and Mr. Palmer help us gain a greater understanding of the seriousness of rock-throwing as a tactic of terrorism. Listen in to this touching segment.

Yishai Fleisher on Twitter: @YishaiFleisher
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Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/tv/radio/palmer-on-personal-connection-to-rock-throwing-in-israel/2013/04/11/

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