It is a damning reflection on the civilized world that one rarely hears a word of condemnation of the criminal Palestinian society in which the murder of Jews is not only considered laudable, but has today effectively become a vehicle for achieving upward social mobility, both socially and financially.
Let us relate hypothetically to Ahmed, a typical youngster in a large and impoverished Palestinian family.
Like his peers, Ahmed has been brainwashed – since kindergarten and throughout his schooling, by the mullahs at his mosque and in the daily media – into believing that the highest level of piety is attained by killing the Israeli enemy. He knows that if he were killed while attacking a Jew, he too would become a shaheed – a martyr – and be compensated for his sacrifice by the rewards and pleasures of Paradise. Moreover, his family would be honored and would receive a lifelong state pension from our “peace partner” Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian Authority.
Ahmed recollects the interviews he watched on PA state television of mothers displaying pride in their offspring’s sacrifice on behalf of Islam, and their frequently expressed hope that some of their remaining children follow the example of the blessed martyr.
Furthermore, PA officials will ensure that even if he brutally murders innocent Israeli civilians he will be portrayed as a saintly hero of the Islamic nation and Palestinian people. Ahmed’s family name would become memorialized by city squares, roads, schools, cultural centers and even football teams named in his honor.
Of course, death is only the worst outcome. If Ahmed is fortunate enough to be captured rather than killed, he gets to have the best of all worlds. His family will continue to visit him in prison, where he is likely to receive better food than he had at home. He will even be provided with amenities such as television. Moreover, he will be able to enroll in university courses and obtain a degree – which would have been inconceivable in his former habitat. And for all this “suffering” the PA will pay him a handsome salary (using funds received from the US, EU and other donors) for every day that he remains in jail. In fact, the longer his sentence, the higher his monthly salary.
In recent years the deterrent for terror attacks was further eroded as successive Israeli governments released large groups of brutal murderers, including cold-blooded killers of infants, in return for an Israeli hostage and more recently as a prerequisite to Abbas merely agreeing to negotiate with Israel. These releases have become such a routine that Ahmed is now confident that if imprisoned, it is highly unlikely he would serve his full term.
He sees that upon his release, instead of being obliged to express remorse for his crimes, Palestinian television audiences will approvingly entreat him to describe to them in detail the ghoulish murders he committed.
Ahmed hears how correspondents from Western newspapers, like Jodi Rudoren of The New York Times, wrote a lengthy article humanizing a released terrorist, the brutal murderer of an elderly Holocaust survivor.
Rudoren noted that the murderer had been “demonized as a terrorist by the Israelis,” relating sympathetically to his complaint that as a national hero (he was elevated to the honorary rank of a PA brigadier general), the “$100,000 grants and monthly payments” received from the PA were insufficient to buy him an apartment.
The Winograd Commission reviewing the Second Lebanon War explicitly urged the enactment of legislation to prevent the premature release of convicted terrorists because of political and other considerations.
Alas, these recommendations were completely ignored, thus intensifying the incentive to murder Jews.
It is inconceivable for a self-respecting country to behave in such a demeaning manner. Would the Obama administration, which pressured our government to release these murderers, dare act in this fashion toward convicted mass murderers in US jails? The US pressured us to release these monsters and yet cautioned us against releasing those who had murdered American citizens. What hypocrisy. And as a further sickening display, the Obama administration even stooped to the level of exploiting Jonathan Pollard – who should have been released many years ago – as a pawn to pressure us.
Fifteen years ago, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu published a book warning that releasing terrorists would embolden extremists and encourage them to intensify their activities. Now he himself is doing precisely that.
Nobody envies the pressures currently confronting our prime minister. There are unsubstantiated rumors that the Obama administration, which obscenely lays the blame on Israel for the failure to move forward in negotiations, has threatened that unless Israel toes the line it will impose its own solution. There were also murmurs that the US could abandon support for Israel in international forums, which would open up the doors for sanctions to be applied against us.
Nor should one underestimate Netanyahu’s challenges in seeking to maintain a government comprised of parties which are all jockeying to maximize voter support for an election in the not-too-distant future.
It has been claimed that Netanyahu chose to release terrorists rather than impose any kind of construction freeze, even in outlying settlements, in order to retain his coalition. Moreover, he was – and possibly still is – contemplating releasing Israeli Arab terrorists in order to placate the Americans and Abbas.
The tension surrounding this issue reached boiling point after the murder of Baruch Mizrahi outside Hebron on Passover eve. When his murderer is ultimately apprehended, he will be sentenced to life imprisonment, but he will have grounds for confidently anticipating that within a few years he too will be released and embraced as a hero by his people.
That Abbas only mumbled that it would be premature on his part to condemn the latest murder until such time as a “full investigation of the incident was concluded” should be considered the ultimate affront.
The onus rests on Netanyahu to display leadership.
Continuing to release murderers undermines our national dignity and inflicts unbearable pain on families of victims.
The erosion of deterrence now impinges directly on the security of Israeli citizens, which must be the primary concern of any government. The current trend is creating an environment where terrorists feel that the risks and penalties they are likely to incur in shedding Jewish blood have now been dramatically minimized.
Netanyahu must reverse this policy of releasing murderers to placate the Americans and appease the Palestinians or he will be accused of standing by passively as increasing numbers of Palestinian Ahmeds feel that there is an incentive for them to murder Jews as a means of achieving upward social mobility and enhancing their family’s status.
Failure to act now will compromise Netanyahu’s leadership and undermine his legacy.
The article was first published in The Jerusalem Post.