Israeli Official Says Released Prisoners Will Resume Terror; ZOA Urges No More Releases of Terrorists
January 30, 2004

NEW YORK- In the wake of an Israeli official’s statement that the terrorists whom Israel released this week will “very quickly” return to terrorism, the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) is urging the Israeli government to refrain from releasing any terrorists in the future.

Following Israel’s decision to release 400 Palestinian Arab terrorists in exchange for an Israeli businessman kidnapped by Hezbollah and the bodies of three Israeli soldiers, Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Jonathan Peled said: “We’re releasing the 400 Palestinians with very heavy hearts, because we know that those Palestinians will very quickly return to the cycle of terrorism.” (New York Times, Jan. 30, 2004)

Although there is substantial evidence that many terrorists who were released in the past subsequently resumed their terrorism, this is apparently the first time that a senior Israeli official has stated publicly and categorically that the Israeli government “knows” the terrorists it is releasing will “very quickly” engage in more terrorism. Thus the release of these 400 terrorists may well directly endanger the lives of Israeli citizens, as well as the lives of the many American citizens residing in or visiting Israel. Fifty-one American citizens have been murdered by Palestinian Arab terrorists in Israel since 1993.

Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, leader of the Palestinian Arab terrorist group Hamas, said (Associated Press, Jan.30, 2004) said in the wake of the prisoner exchange that his group “will spare no effort to kidnap Israeli soldiers … There is no solution to the prisoner issues except with the kidnapping of soldiers of the enemy and exchanging them with our own prisoners.”

ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said: “Any government which knows that released prisoners will ‘return to terrorism’ has an obligation to its citizens to keep those prisoners in jail. Releasing terrorists rewards terrorism and encourages more kidnappings and murders of Israelis, in order to obtain new Israel concessions and additional releases of terrorists. It enhances the image of Hezbollah and other terrorists in the Arab world. We urge the Israeli government to refrain from the future release of terrorists, whether in prisoner exchanges or any other circumstances. Granting freedom to those who will engage in terrorism directly undermines the international war against terror.”

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