Palestinian Authority (PA) prime minister Salam Fayyad, often widely and wrongly described as a moderate and pragmatist, has called for the mass release of Palestinian terrorists jailed by Israel. If acted upon, such a mass release would let loose hundreds of seasoned terrorists, whose murderous acts Fayyad has previously found himself unable to condemn. At an unveiling ceremony for the Mural of Freedom on Palestinian Prisoners Day, Fayyad told detainees that you are not alone; your people are united for your cause. You are not on your own in your fight for freedom It is time to free our prisoners. I am sure that the dawn of freedom is coming and will be in every city and village, reaching Jerusalem, the capital of Palestine (Fayyad: It is time to free our prisoners, Maan News, April 18, 2010).
The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) has pointed before to the falsity of the alleged moderation of Fayyad, who in January and again in February paid condolence calls to families of Palestinian terrorists killed after attempting to murder Jews. In January, Fayyad paid a visit to the families of the three Palestinian terrorists who murdered Rabbi Meir Chai but who were later tracked down and killed by Israeli security forces. Six weeks later, he visited the family of Faiz Faraj, who was killed after attempting to stab to death an Israeli soldier.
Regarding the latter, the PA daily, Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, wrote, The [PA] Prime Minister [Salam Fayyad] paid condolences to the family of the Shahid (Martyr) Faiz Faraj, who was killed on Friday evening by the occupation forces (Israel), having been fired upon directly in the old Al-Shalala neighborhood in Hebron. Fayyad denounced in extremely harsh terms the actions of the occupation forces, carried out as part of the ongoing campaign to suppress the non-violent protests of residents in the various regions (Al-Hayat Al-Jadida, Feb. 14, 2010, translation courtesy of Itamar Marcus and Barbara Crook, PA Prime Minister honors dead terrorist with condolence visit, Palestinian Media Watch, February 14, 2010).
Fayyads call for the release of jailed terrorists was echoed by Hamas deputy speaker of the Palestinian legislature, Dr. Ahmad Bahar who in April 2007 called for the murder of all Jews and Americans, saying, Allah, take hold of the Jews and their allies, Allah, take hold of the Americans and their allies Allah, count them and kill them to the last one and dont leave even one who called for Arab and Muslim parliaments to hold an emergency session on the subject.
ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said, The ZOA has long maintained that Mahmoud Abbas, the PA that he heads and the Fatah party that controls it and which he co-founded, are unreconstructed supporters of terrorism and not genuine moderates and peace makers. Salaam Fayyad, the PA prime minister, who is often held be a pragmatic technocrat who accepts Israel and opposes terrorism, shows his true colors in his repeated condolence calls on the families of dead terrorists, his opposition to Israeli action against terrorists who come to murder Jews and now in his call for the release of terrorists already jailed for previous crimes including murder.
The very fact that Fayyad would insist on the release of jailed terrorists is proof positive that he is not interest in a genuine peace with Israel and could never be counted on to fight terrorists or arrest them. Consider: if Fayyad was genuinely interested in peace and reconciliation with Israel, he would punish terrorists, he would condemn terrorists and dismantle their networks and he would oppose the freeing into his streets of hundreds of armed and unrepentant killers. In short, if Fayyad was truly interested in peace, he would be doing the diametric opposite of what he is actually doing.
A Palestinian leader who neither arrests terrorists nor ceases to honor them is not one who will lead Palestinians on a new path of peace and reconciliation.