A risk we can’t afford
ZOA in the news
December 6, 2009

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Sir, – In your editorial, you spoke correctly of the “risks” of “further kidnappings and killings” that arise if Israel frees hundreds of terrorists to obtain the freedom of Gilad Schalit (“Schalit: The details matter,” December 3).

The Israeli public must bear in mind that freed terrorists have already murdered large numbers of Israelis. The Almagor Terrorist Victims Association (ATVA) disclosed in April 2007 that 177 Israelis killed in terror attacks in the previous five years had been killed by freed terrorists. An earlier ATVA report showed that 123 Israelis had been murdered by terrorists freed during 1993-99.


None of these freed terrorists were described at the time as having “blood on their hands,” because they hadn’t actually detonated the bomb, pulled the trigger or succeeded in killing someone.


Clearly, Israeli governments were fooling themselves if they thought that freeing murderers, attempted murderers and accessories to murder carried few risks. Any decision to free more terrorists must be seen in this light. The painful but inescapable conclusion is that Israel cannot afford to do this.


The appeals to put ourselves in the shoes of the families of the kidnapped are deeply moving and understandable, but cannot be the basis for our decisions. 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. It follows that the most important consideration must be preventing the loss of further lives to terror.


MORTON A. KLEIN


National president, Zionist Organization of America


New York, NY

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