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December 18, 2014 / 26 Kislev, 5775
 
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘prisoner releases’

Gov’t Approves Anti-Extortion Bill

Sunday, June 8th, 2014

The cabinet has approved legislation that, if it becomes law, will prevent the political echelon from agreeing to Arab extortion during hostage crises.

The bill, promoted by the Likud and Jewish Home parties, would remove the possibility of mass prisoner swaps by annulling the president’s ability to grant pardons or clemency in pre-meditated murder cases. The bill would effectively remove the government’s ability to use convicted killers as bargaining chips for IDF soldiers.

The measure was sponsored by MKs Ayelet Shaked (Jewish Home), Yariv Levin (Likud), David Tzur (Hatnua). The main opposition to the bill came from Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, who has released more convicts than any other prime minister, on grounds that the new law would limit his ability to  grant concessions to the Palestinians. Opponents also say the bill is flawed because it grants additional power to the judiciary over government activities.

 

Ministers Approve ‘No Release’ Bill for Convicted Killers

Sunday, May 11th, 2014

The Ministerial Committee on Legislation on Sunday approved legislation to prevent  political deals with the Palestinians that call for releasing terrorists sentenced to life imprisonment.

Justice Minister Tzipi Livni and Yesh Atid MKs Yael German and Ya’akov Peri voted against the bill. All cabinet members from the Likud, Israel Our Home and Jewish Home voted in favour.

The bill will now be forwarded to the government for approval, and then to the Knesset plenum.

The parliamentary move is the result of months of intensive lobbying by families of terror victims, who have tried repeatedly to block prisoner releases via the courts. Although polls show that Israelis overwhelmingly oppose lopsided prisoner releases, right- and left-wing governments have repeatedly bowed to Arab extortion and Western pressure.

In 2011, Israel released 1,027 murderers in 2011 in exchange for IDF Corporal Gilad Shalit, who had been held hostage by Hamas terrorists in Gaza for morethan five years. More recently, Israel has released nearly 100 Arab murderers in an attempt to lure Palestinian Authority negotiators to the negotiating table.

The releases were not sufficient to satisfy the Arab side, and negotiations broke down on April 29.

Now, coalition ministers led by Gidon Sa’ar, Gilad Erdan, Limor Livnat, Uri Ariel, Uri Orbach, Yair Shamir and Sofa Landver, say the current bill is an attempt to prevent future extortion, and to circumvent Israeli courts that have repeatedly refused to rule on the issue of prisoner releases. .

“This bill is not only about terrorists,” said Gidon Sa’ar. “It refers to anyone convicted of pre-meditated murder. In my view people who murder children should never be released. Israeli law does not provide for either the death penalty or full life imprisonment.

“This bill will strengthen the rule of law. In my view, the Justice Department must support this bill because it involves the legislative branch involving itself with decisions of the judicial branch. We have already seen instances in which people who have murdered children are walking around free a short while later. In a country that does not haves the death penalty, instituting full life imprisonment is a top priority. It will also make things easier for legislators in future,” Sa’ar said.

Israel Corners Itself

Sunday, August 25th, 2013

I’ve been reading Harvard University literature professor Ruth Wisse’s new book, No Joke: Making Jewish Humor. In her chapter on Israeli humor, Professor Wisse discusses the comedy trio HaGashash HaChiver (The Pale Trackers) and writes about a 1981 post-election skit of theirs:

“The three then launch into a musical number that interprets avodah, the national ethic of labor, as ovdim aleynu, ‘They’re Working Us Over,’ in which each stanza spoofs the promises made by politicians when running for office…The song’s refrain [was], ‘They’re working us over…and we never learn…”

That refrain remains valid in both claims.

In response to a recent blog about the 104 terrorist releases, a Bayit Yehudi voter from Efrat comments, “It helps show the world the corner they’ve painted us into with this prisoner release. It shows the world their shame.”

This is not the language of vigorous, sovereign citizenship—what Israel’s national anthem calls an am chofshi b’artzenu (free people in our land). This is the language of evasion, feebleness, and dependency, confirming those who describe Israel as an American protectorate.

Addressing similar claims by Bayit Yehudi MK Ayelet Shaked, an excellent blogger from Jerusalem remarks:

“The last time I checked, [U.S. Secretary of State] Kerry does not work for Israel and does not represent us. Shaked’s party leader, Naftali Bennett, her Prime Minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, and Shaked herself do represent us. If Israel is making admittedly stupid moves like releasing terrorist murderers—especially when we get nothing in return—maybe we need to be looking at our own leadership and not at the Americans.”

Compare these essentially “America made us do it” claims with the recent observance of Tisha B’Av and associated lamentations about European Jews during the First Crusade in the 11th century. Those ancestors had neither an army nor a state as they faced demonic hordes seeking to destroy Judaism.

Yet despite such physically superior aggressors, Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik zt”l noted about the many Jews who chose death rather than apostasy, regarding the lamentation Hacharishu Mimeni Va’adabera (“Be quiet, allow me to speak…”): “The enemies had a simple demand: all the Jew had to do was kiss the cross. The Jews could have saved their lives, but they would not agree to become apostates.”

Now consider the State of Israel in 2013, which has one of the strongest militaries in world history and a Yom Ha’atzmaut. How perverse is the claim that this superpower releases murderers of its citizens due to being “painted into a corner”?

The painted into a corner mentality always means rationalizing and mitigating injustice, the terrorist releases being the latest catastrophic example. Before that, it was blame Obama and the EU when the government froze construction in Yehuda and Shomron.

Or blame John Kerry and Catherine Ashton when Hamas attacks cities like Sderot with what amounts to impunity.

Or blame their predecessors when Israeli soldiers expelled 8,600 Jews from Gush Katif.

Do anything except reflect upon one’s own society and the regime it has produced. As Rabbi Yehuda Balsam commented this month in a related context, “If you’re not so happy with your leadership, perhaps it’s worthwhile to take a look in the mirror.” (See 5:00 here.)

The awful truth is that Israel corners itself and shames itself. The awful truth is that Israel invites foreign contempt because it shows contempt for itself.

“When you have no self-respect, you cannot expect anybody else will respect you,” Rabbi David Bar-Hayim of Machon Shilo has noted. Specific to the religious Zionist sector—of which Bayit Yehudi is the latest political incarnation—Rabbi Bar-Hayim observes:

“One of their characteristics is a tremendous naiveté regarding the authorities, the powers that be. They’re always trying to read into their actions more positive motivations than truly exist. They’re always willing to overlook evils done by these people.” (See 34:50 here.)

To paraphrase the The Pale Trackers in 1981: Some people get worked over, and they never learn.

Shhhh Obama Released Taliban Prisoners to Encourage ‘Peace’ Talks

Monday, August 12th, 2013

“If the U.S. president thinks it’s such a good idea for Israel to release convicted murderers, why doesn’t he release some of the detainees at Guantanamo Bay?” is the response we’ve been hearing to news stories about the United States pressuring Israel to release convicted murderers merely as a door prize for the Arab Palestinians for coming to the table to talk – no concessions, no commitments, nothing at all required of them.

It is unlikely to make the people who were asking the question feel better, but the answer is: He already did.

That’s right, somehow, in a story that seems to have flown below the radar, five members of the Taliban who had been detained at the U.S.’s Guantanamo Bay Detention Center in Cuba have been freed by the U.S.

It happened at the end of July.

But don’t worry, those five prisoners were released under a very strict condition: they had to agree that they would not engage in any violent activity. No word on whether the prisoners agreed to a serious pinky swear or if anyone checked to see if they were crossing their fingers when they promised not to hurt anybody ever again.

And the reason for the release?  To show the Taliban that the United States is serious about engaging in peace talks. Sound familiar?

But the U.S. drives a much tougher bargain than does Israel.  The U.S. was going to exchange the five Taliban terrorists for one American, U.S. Army Spc. Bowe Bergdahl, who disappeared in eastern Afghanistan on June 30, 2009.

On the other hand, Bergdahl was not released, even though the Gitmo prisoners were.  Some tough bargainers.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/shhhh-obama-released-taliban-prisoners-to-encourage-peace-talks/2013/08/12/

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