Clinton calls for Lockerbie terrorists to serve out sentence
why not Palestinian terrorists?
The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) has drawn attention to Britains condemnation of Libyan celebrations for the 2009 release of convicted Lockerbie bombing terrorist Abdel Baset Al-Megrahi as tasteless, offensive and deeply insensitive, asking why the British and other governments have not similarly condemned recent Palestinian celebrations and honoring of convicted terrorists freed by Israel and deceased Palestinian terrorists.
Megrahi released from a Scottish prison last year because he supposedly had less than six months to live is alive in Libya today and was feted and honored upon his return to the country last year. Megrahi was sentenced to life in prison in 2001 for his part in blowing up New York-bound Pan Am Flight 103 in December 1988, killing 259 people on board and 11 people on the ground in the Scottish town of Lockerbie.
In anticipation of another celebration on the first anniversary of his release, a British Foreign Office spokeswoman said that, Any celebration of Megrahis release would be tasteless, offensive and deeply insensitive to the victims families. In the U.S., Secretary of State Hillary Clinton issued a statement regretting the one-year anniversary of Megrahi’s release and said the United States disagreed with the decision, stating, As we have expressed repeatedly to Scottish authorities, we maintain that al-Megrahi should serve out the entirety of his sentence in prison in Scotland (Ali Shuaib, Libya keeps quiet a year after Lockerbie release, Reuters, August 20, 2010). Why isnt U.S. demanding that Palestinian terrorists remain behind bars? Why instead does the U.S. and other governments urge Israel to make confidence-building gestures which include releasing convicted Palestinian terrorists?
Megrahi was released last year to a heros welcome in Libya, indicating a complete lack of remorse on the part of the Libyan regime of Muammar Gaddafi that employed him for his act of mass murder. Similarly, the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Palestinian society in general have sought relentlessly the freeing of their convicted terrorists, and celebrated and honored them upon release.
Even the most heinous of Palestinian terrorists, like Samir Kuntar, have been freed by Israel and honored by the PA as heroes and role models. In Nahariya in 1979, Kuntar murdered an Israeli father in front of his daughter, before crushing her head with a rock and his rifle butt. (PA president Mahmoud Abbas congratulated the family of Samir Kuntar at the time of Kuntars release).
Last month, Abbas praised Muhammad Daoud Oudeh (Abu Daoud), the mastermind of the 1972 Munich Olympics seizure and subsequent murder of Israeli athletes on the occasion of his death as a wonderful brother, companion and phoned Abu Daouds family to express his condolences. He also sent an emissary to visit the dying Grand Ayatollah Muhammad Hussein Fadlallah, a Hizballah cleric named on the U.S. list of wanted terrorists and held responsible by the U.S. government for the 1983 suicide bombing that destroyed the barracks of U.S. Marines during a peace-keeping mission in Lebanon in which 242 U.S. servicemen were killed. When Fadlallah died, Abbas sent condolences to his family. The terrorist who led the 1978 coastal road massacre, in which 37 Israelis were murdered, Dalal Mughrabi, has also been honored in several ceremonies by Abbas PA.
Only this week, Amin Al-Hindi, one of the senior planners of 1972 Munich Olympics terrorist operation, died and the PA glorified him. Mahmoud Abbas, PA prime minister Salam Fayyad and other high PA officials attended al-Hindis military-style funeral, and the PA official newspaper described him as one of the stars who sparkled … at the sports stadium in Munich (Itamar Marcus and Barbara Crook, PA and Abbas honor terrorist planner of Olympics massacre, Palestinian Media Watch bulletin, August 25, 2010).
Literally hundreds of freed Palestinian terrorists have returned to terrorism, claiming hundreds of innocent Israeli lives. A report by the Almagor Terrorist Victims Association (ATVA) in Israel showed that, during 1993-99, 123 Israelis were murdered in terrorist attacks committed by convicted terrorists freed by Israel. A further ATVA report in 2007 demonstrated that a further 177 Israelis were killed in terror attacks during 2002-07 by further terrorists released by Israel.
ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said, The British government was right to describe any celebrations that may be held in Libya on the first anniversary of Megrahis release from prison as tasteless, offensive and deeply insensitive to the victims families.
Given this, why hasnt the British and indeed other governments, and former British prime minister and current Middle East Quartet envoy Tony Blair, ever condemned the Palestinian celebrations that have accompanied the release of convicted Palestinian terrorists? In all their many, often critical statements about Israel with regard to this conflict, they have never done this.
Not on a single occasion that has come to our notice have these governments ever condemned the obscenity and, in terms of peace-making, bad faith of the PA demanding and celebrating the release of unrepentant and vicious Jew-murderers.
In the case of Libya, it appears that a concocted humanitarian appeal, based on the groundless claim that Megrahi was imminently dying, allowed Muammar Gaddafis regime to seek his release. In the case of the PA, it does not even resort to such pretexts. It loudly, unashamedly and publicly demands the release of live, healthy and unrepentant terrorists and no one condemns them for this.
In this context, the ZOA fully supports Secretary Clintons statement that Megrahi should serve his full sentence in a jail. We believe that the same practice should apply without exception to Palestinian terrorists jailed by Israel who have not been released to the PA or other terror groups and regimes and that this principle should widely be affirmed.
It is a travesty of justice that murderers and attempted murderers go free without serving their sentences. It is for these unimpeachable reasons that the U.S. and British governments have expressed opposition and distaste for Megrahis release and for the celebrations in Libya that attended that event.