At one time
In August 2008, Israel also freed a further 198 jailed terrorists, including two with blood on their hands and 149 others guilty of attempted murder, as a “confidence-building measure.”
The evidence for this is clear: Col. Meir Indor, director of Almagor Terrorist Victims Association (ATVA), disclosedin April 2007 that 177 Israelis killed in terror attacks in the previous five years had been killed by terrorists freed on the basis that they were “without blood on their hands.”
An earlier ATVA report showedthat 123 Israelis had been murdered by terrorists freed during the years 1993-99.
This exposes the fraudulence of the criterion “without blood on their hands,” which lulled the Israeli public into thinking no serious danger was courted by freeing terrorists.
This was an illusion, and the loss of more lives was inevitable. “Without blood on their hands” is a misleading criterion that encompasses those convicted for attempting to kill, for planting or throwing bombs or for shooting at Israelis in attacks that just happened to prove non-lethal.
Israelis were fooling themselves if they thought freeing attempted murderers and accessories to murder carried few risks.
Additionally, such releases provide a major incentive for more kidnappings of Israelis. As Hamas chief Khaled Meshaal saidonly days ago, “The resistance is capable of capturing [another] Shalit and [another] Shalit and [another] Shalit, until not a single prisoner will remain in the enemy’s jails.”
Yet for years Israelis have been inundated with false arguments for releasing terrorists. It has been arguedthat
This is simply dangerous nonsense. As the cited evidence indicates, the chief security issue raised by releasing Palestinian terrorists is not only more kidnappings, serious and real as that problem is, but freed prisoners murdering more Israelis. This aspect of the problem is routinely ignored in discussion of prisoner releases.
The August 2008 prisoner release was describedby analyst Yossi Alpher as a “smart and courageous move” because “draconian sentences” on jailed terrorists create “incentives” for other terrorists to kidnap Israelis in order to spring those locked up. This is shortsighted.
Alpher claims such releases could be used as “confidence building measures.” He did not mention that freeing even hundreds of terrorists has never improved
As Brig.-Gen. (res.) Shalom Harari of the Institute for Counter-Terrorism at the
It has also been arguedthat those who oppose the exchange of jailed Arab terrorists in return for kidnapped Israelis should put themselves in the shoes of the families of the kidnap victims and then test their resolve.
This argument is no less false for being emotionally manipulative. Would we allow relatives of people held up by bank robbers to decide whether or not the police accede to the demands of their captors? The duty of the state is to protect its citizens. Therefore, the most important consideration must be preventing the loss of further lives to terror.
Let us be clear: we deeply sympathize with Israeli families whose sons are kidnapped by bloodthirsty terrorists. We would support virtually any efforts to bring them home safely. But when the record plainly shows that releasing terrorists brings only more terror and tragedy, we must regretfully accept the fact that
Morton A. Klein is national president of the Zionist Organization of
Dr. Daniel Mandel is director of the ZOA’s Center for Middle East Policy and author of “H.V. Evatt and the Establishment of