By Jordan McGillis
When emotions guide politics, failure inevitably ensues. In a move that would be hailed by the Jimmy Carter School of Appeasement, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu agreed last month to release over 1,000 convicted Palestinian criminals from Israeli prisons in exchange for a single Israeli soldier, Gilad Shalit, who was kidnapped 5 years ago by Hamas. The move is emblematic of the acquiescence that has now become the norm. Though the international community would have you think otherwise, Israel’s foreign policy has gone soft.
Though Shalit’s return to Israel is certainly cause for joy, the price Israel has paid is far too great. The decision to release the prisoners was flagrantly irrational, motivated by emotions detached from reality. In an interview with the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, National Infrastructure Minister Uzi Landau said, “All the logical reasoning suggests one should vote against the deal, but I still support it.” Of the 1,027 Palestinians to be released, 280 are convicted terrorist murderers who had been sentenced in the court of law to life imprisonment. These 280, who have cumulatively killed over 400 people, will now be on the loose, free to kill again. The ramifications of this prisoner swap will have devastating effects and it cannot be rationally accepted. Among the murderers to be released are:
- Abd al-Hadi Rafa Ghanim, who hijacked a bus and steered it into a ravine in 1989, killing 11 people and wounding 17.
- Ibrahim Muhammad Yunus Dar Musa, who killed five people and wounded 50 in a September 2003 suicide bombing at Jerusalem’s Cafe Hillel.
- Maedh Waal Taleb Abu Sharakh, Majdi Muhammad Ahmed Amr, and Fadi Muhammad Ibrahim al-Jaaba, who jointly planned a March 5, 2003 suicide bombing of a Haifa bus that killed 17 people and wounded 53.
- Nasir Sami Abd al-Razzaq and Ali al Nasser-Yataima, whose Passover 2002 suicide bombing killed 30 and wounded 140 at Netanyahu’s Park Hotel.
- Ahlam Tamimi, who killed 15 people in a Jerusalem suicide bombing and wounded 130 more.
Tamimi, who was released in the first wave, was interviewed by a Hamas media outlet and uttered the following: “It was a calculated act, performed with conviction and faith in Allah– why should I repent?”
The release of women like Ahlam Tamimi and men like Abd al-Hadi Rafa Ghanim marks one of the lowest points in the longstanding feud between the Israelis and Palestinians. Prime Minister Netanyahu, once considered to be a foreign affairs hardliner, has kowtowed to the brutality of Hamas and jeopardized Israel’s security.
Despite the deal’s saccharine presentation to the Israeli public, officials are well aware of the risk being taken. Yoram Cohen, Israel’s top intelligence official, solemnly admitted, “But we must tell the truth: This deal does not help the security situation, it even harms it. The experience of the past has taught us that some 60 percent of security prisoners who are released go back to their evil ways, to terror. And some 15 percent return to prison.”
The release of these prisoners will not satiate the murderous Palestinian regime and their Islamist supporters, it will embolden them. Indeed, mere days after the agreement was made public, a Saudi cleric pledged to pay $100,000 to the next person who kidnaps an Israeli soldier. The pledge was then bolstered by Saudi Prince Khaled bin Talal with an additional $900,000, to make the reward for such a crime an even 1,000,000.
Bounties for criminal acts and intensifications of violence are sickening, but they are to be expected. This is the natural result of the irrational, compromising, self-sacrificial foreign policy that Israel has sowed. When negotiations are infected by the poison of compromise it is the aggressor who prevails. For in any compromise between good and evil, it is only evil that stands to benefit. The Hamas regime and their Islamist allies know only a creed of violence. Thus, they will continue to use violence until their aims are achieved. Unless, that is, Israel is willing to summon the courage it once so proudly displayed, go on the offensive, and vanquish the threat from Gaza once and for all.
[Photo Courtesy of Tom Spender]