Swap could cause more Israeli deaths
New York – The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) supports statements made in Philadelphia last week by former Israeli Prime Minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, and Israel’s Ambassador to the US, Danny Ayalon, that releasing Arab terrorists from Israeli jails in exchange for kidnapped Israelis will only encourage more kidnappings of Israelis in order to bring about further terrorist releases and produce more terrorism. These observations have been borne out also by a new detailed report which demonstrates that in recent years, 123 Israelis were murdered in 14 major terrorist attacks carried out by terrorists who had been released from Israeli prisons in the context of various ‘good will gestures’ and Israeli prisoner deals.
Between the years 1993-1999, Israel released 6,912 terrorists within the context of ‘confidence building measures’ and prisoner deals. Of that number, 854 (14%) were arrested subsequently for lethal terrorists acts. There are no statistics available for those who returned to non-fatal terrorist activities, instruction or logistical support. All of the terrorists thus freed were released with assurances to the public that they did not have ‘blood on their hands’ — a euphemism for prisoners whose attempted acts of terrorism designed to murder innocents failed to prove fatal.
The report was produced by the Almagor Terror Victims Association (ATVA), an umbrella organization composed of families of slain terror victims and others affected personally by terrorism in Israel. The ATVA report concludes, “The mass killing due to these attacks included … a huge number of victims with disabilities due to the attack and many other victims. In all the previous death-bargains, the overwhelming majority of those released returned to terrorist activities, at the cost of a huge destruction of life.” Copies of the report were sent to Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Defense Minister Amir Peretz, Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Dan Halutz and interim Justice Minister Meir Sheetrit. The Association issued a call to the Olmert government to refuse to release terrorists in return for the three IDF soldiers being held by Hamas and Hizballah (Israel National News, September 8).
Examples of released terrorists who subsequently murder Israelis in further terrorist acts:
- Karim Ratteb Younis Awis — released in the context of a ‘good will gesture’:
* November 27, 2001: Carried out shooting attack near Afula, murdering Michal Mor and Noam Guzofsky.
* March 21, 2002: Dispatched a female suicide bomber to Jerusalem’s King George Street, murdering three Israelis, Yitzchak Cohen and Gadi and Tzipora Shemesh — 81 more were wounded.
- Nasser Abu Hamiyad — released as part of the Oslo Accords:
* Took part in Ramallah lynch, mutilating bodies of IDF reservists Vadim Norzitz and Yossi Avrahami.
* February 25, 2002: Initiated attack on Jerusalem ‘s Neve Yaakov neighborhood, murdering a female police officers and wounding 10.
* March 5, 2002: Responsible for attack on Seafood Market in Tel Aviv, murdering Israelis Eliyahu Dahan and Yossi Havi, wounding 31.
- Abbas ibn Muhammad Alsayd — released in 1996; had a part in three Netanya attacks:
* March 4, 2001: Dispatched Herzl street suicide bombing, murdering Naftali Din, Shlomit Ziv, Yvgeni Malkin and wounding 56.
* May 18, 2001: Responsible for suicide bombing of HaSharon Mall in Netanya, murdering Miriam Wachsman, Yulia Tartiakov, David (Moti) Yarkoni, Vladislov Sorokin and Tirza Tishbi, and wounding 86.
* Helped plan and carry out Park Hotel Passover massacre, murdering 29 and wounding 155.
- Ramez Sali Abu Salim — released February 20, 2003:
* Just seven months after release, on September 9: Blew himself up at Jerusalem’s CafÃ© Hillel, murdering David Shimon Avizdris, Yehiel Emil Toubol, Shafik Karem, Alon Mizrachi, Gila Moshe, Dr. David Yaakov Appelbaum and his daughter Nava — on the eve of her wedding.
- Fuad Kawasme — released December 2002:
* Less than half a year later, on May 18, 2003, shot Kiryat Arba residents Gadi and Dina Levi to death near Gross Square in Hevron.
- Jihad Alamrin — released as part of the Jibril deal in 1985:
* Founded the Al Aksa Brigades terror group in Gaza
* Planted explosives that killed IDF soldiers Cpl. Asher Zagori, Cpl. Moshe Peled, Cpl. Ron Lavi, Cpl. Matan Biderman and others.
- Salah Shahadeh — released in 2000:
* January 9, 2002: Oversaw infiltration into IDF’s Africa Lookout, killing four soldiers.
* March 7, 2002: Shooting attack at Atzmona pre-military academy, murdering Ariel Zaga, Baruch Marcus, Eran Pikar, Aharon Krugliak and Tal Kutzweil.
- Iyad Sawalha — released as part of the Wye Agreement in 1998:
* June 5, 2002: Responsible for bus bombing at Megiddo Junction, murdering 17 and wounding 42.
* October 21, 2002: Blew up jeep near Egged bus at Karkur Junction, murdering 14 and wounding 42.
- Khalil Hamza Abu Roub — released the final time in 1996:
* September 18, 2002: Organized Umm El Fahm Junction bombing, murdering officer Yossi Ajami and wounding one seriously.
* December 26, 2002: Tried to shoot and kill IDF soldiers attempting to apprehend him. He was killed in the process.
- Mahmoud Hamdan — released after serving just 14 months of a lengthy sentence in July 2003:
*September 26, 2003: Two months after his release, he infiltrated the Hevron Hills town of Negohot, murdering Ayal Yaverboim and slaying a baby, Shaked Avraham.
- Nidal Salameh — released during Israel-PA talks in 1999:
* Following his release he took leadership role in PFLP terrorist group — responsible for southern Gaza. Oversaw dozens of attacks.
- Louei Raad Barghouti — released August 2003 as “good-will gesture” to Mahmoud Abbas:
* Planned and oversaw attack at Tzrifin IDF base bus stop, murdering eight.
* Involved in planning of Cafe Hillel attack.
- Morad Kawasme — released January 29, 2004 in return for kidnapped Israeli Elchanan Tenenbaum and the bodies of three missing soldiers:
* Became senior Hamas commander in Hebron and shot at soldiers who came to arrest him after he oversaw several attacks.
ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said, “The ZOA shares and feels the great pain felt by Israeli families and others when their sons are kidnapped by Islamist terrorists. We would support virtually any efforts to bring them home safely. But when the record clearly shows that prisoner releases bring only more terror, more murder and more kidnappings of Jewish people, we painfully must accept the fact, as stated by former Prime Minister Netanyahu and Ambassador Ayalon, that we will save more Israeli lives by not rewarding kidnappings through prisoner releases.
“This report demonstrates that 123 Israelis have lost their lives to terrorism carried out by released prisoners, and that doesn’t even take account of the far larger number of civilians maimed and injured in the same attacks. Just as importantly, releasing jailed terrorists in exchange for kidnapped Israelis is the best imaginable incentive for Hizballah, Hamas and other terrorist movements to kidnap more Israelis in the future in order to free more of their jailed killers. So-called prisoner exchanges thus only encourage and produce more terrorism. Additionally, any such prisoner release to Hizballah will simply boost the standing of its leader, Hassan Nasrallah, and provide a form of retrospective justification for his aggression against Israel.