Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Prisoner releases

When America wants the Palestinians to negotiate with Israel, they apply pressure on Israel to make concessions. Case in point, the release of Palestinian terrorists who have killed Israelis, who are now being released in the second of four groups in order to reward Pres. Abbas. This supposedly bolsters Abbas's position among the Palestinians so that he can actually negotiate with the Israeli government, something he refused to do for 4 years.

There are many who oppose these prisoner releases, some whose family members were murdered by them and some as a matter of principle. Their argument is that as they were tried in a court of law and found guilty and given a sentence, then noone, not even the Israeli Government, has the right to pardon them and release them before they have served their time. On the other hand, the argument goes, that in order to achieve peace the releasing of such terrorists is a small price to pay. Also, the terrorists being released are mostly those incarcerated in Israeli prisons before the Oslo Accords, so they have served at least 20 years. Unfortunately the release of the terrorists does not achieve peace, but only allows the so-called peace process to continue (ad nauseam).

Those against the releases argue that they are considered a victory by the Palestinians and the celebrations upon their return give a tremendous filip to those who plan and carry out terrorist attacks against Israeli civilians. These terrorists see the Israeli state as weak and effete, if they were Israelis imprisoned by the Palestinians they would have long since been executed. The current release has caused a coalition crisis in the Netanyahu Government, with Naftali Bennett and his Bayit Yehudi party publicly opposing the releases, when as members of the Coalition they are required to support them. But, Netanyahu has pressed ahead with the releases despite domestic opposition.

In any case, there is little chance that the two sides can overcome their fundamental differences. For example, PM Netanyahu requires that for an end of the conflict agreement, the Pals agree to recognize Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people. This they adamantly refuse to do because to do so would be to negate one of their sacred cows, the inherent right of return of all Palestinian "refugees," including all descendents, to what is now Israel. Of course, this is ridiculous, since there is no basis in international law for the return of refugees and certainly not for their descendents, who are not classified as "refugees" under international law.

So ultimately the terrorist prisoners will have been released in vain, there will be no reciprocal Palestinian concessions, and there will be no peace agreement, and the former terrorists will return to their deadly business and kill again. The victims could be a member of your or my family! Will that make Pres. Obama happy.


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