Against Prisoner Release
ZOA in the news
September 17, 2008


Against Prisoner Release

by Morton A. Klein
National President, Zionist Organization of America, Philadelphia


Your editorial rightly argues that Israel’s willingness to release 200 jailed terrorists is “more likely to evoke in Palestinians a sense of Israeli weakness than of appreciation and respect” (‘Wake-Up Time For Rice,’ Aug. 20). Not only have past releases of even hundreds of terrorists failed to moderate Palestinian opinion, these releases have resulted in further loss of innocent Israeli lives.

The evidence for this is clear: a 2006 detailed report issued by the Almagor Terror Victims Association (ATVA), shows that 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 percent) were arrested subsequently for lethal terrorist acts that claimed the lives of 123 Israelis. Moreover, Meir Indor, director of ATVA, disclosed in April 2007 that 177 Israelis killed in terror attacks in the previous five years had been killed by terrorists freed by Israel.

Successive Israeli governments have insisted that they do not release terrorists “with blood on their hands.” In fact, this criterion only means that even the most vicious terrorists have been freed, providing that their terror plans failed or that others pulled the trigger or detonated the bomb. This makes them attempted murderers or accessories to murder. Not only is it a travesty of justice that such people are released, but, as the ATVA study demonstrates, they end up taking Jewish lives.

While all reasonable efforts must be made to bring kidnapped Israelis home, releasing terrorists to bring this about is simply too high and tragic a price to pay.


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