ZOA To Israel: Stop Releasing Killers Of Jews
December 8, 2008


The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) is opposing the Israel government decision to release a further 230 jailed Palestinian terrorists, which includes an unprecedented 81 who were convicted of murder. The release was scheduled for tomorrow, but has been delayed until December 15. (Josef Federman, ‘Israel to delay Palestinian prisoner release,‘Associated Press, December 8, 2008). The Israeli government decided on this release on the occasion of the Muslim festival of Eid al-Adha (Festival of Sacrifice) and intends it as a “goodwill” gesture to Palestinian Authority (PA) president Mahmoud Abbas. This is being done, despite the fact that the government has stated that, in accordance with criteria set by previous  government decisions, it would not release those prisoners with “blood on their hands” belonging to Hamas or Palestinian Jihad (‘Notification-Release of Palestinian Prisoners 07.12.08,’ Israel Police Service website).


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%) were arrested subsequently for lethal terrorists acts which claimed the lives of 123 Israelis. The ATVA report concluded, “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.”


Meir Indor, Director of ATVA, disclosed in April 2007 that 177 Israelis killed in terror attacks in the last five years were killed by Palestinians who had been previously released from Israeli jails on the basis that they were “without blood on their hands” (Jerusalem Post, April 10, 2008). Also in April 2007, the Knesset Foreign Affairs & Defense Committee Chairman, Tzachi Hanegbi (Kadima) said that 35 Israelis had been murdered by prisoners Israel released in exchange for Elchanan Tennenbaum, an Israeli businessman kidnapped by Hizballah (Independent Media & Review Analysis, April 13, 2007).


ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said, “We believe that the Israeli government is repeating yet again a tragic, easily avoidable error in releasing jailed terrorists, whether or not it chooses to admit that those it is intending to release includes people who shed the life of innocent Jewish civilians. Considerations of justice, morality, prudence and security all dictate that exchanging jailed terrorists is liable to cause more kidnappings, strengthen terrorist groups and result in more innocent Jewish life being shed.


“Even without freeing convicted murderers, such releases would remain a tragic mistake. It is clear that prisoners the Israeli government defines as ‘not having blood on their hands’ often fall into that category simply because their terror plans failed, or because others pulled the trigger or detonated the bomb. This does not make them any the less attempted murderers or accessories to murder. We are fooling ourselves if we believe releasing such people will not lead to further murder and maiming of innocent Israeli men, women and children. It is also a travesty of justice that murderers and attempted murderers go free without serving their sentences.


“If terrorist are freed in return for no concessions, it emboldens the terror groups and invigorates their murderous ideology. If they are freed for kidnapped Israelis, living or dead, it encourages more such kidnappings and endangers the lives of those yet to be kidnapped. And even if other concessions were demanded and forthcoming from the Palestinians, it is ultimately self-defeating, since the record shows that freed terrorists go on to murder and maim again. Freeing terrorists does many things. The one thing it does not do is bring about less bloodshed.”



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