The idea of releasing Palestinian prisoners, including murderers is unthinkable, according to the head of Almagor Terror Victims Association, Lt.-Col. (res.) Meir Indor, who says Israel's prisoner-hostage exchange system forces civilians to pay the price for what he calls "bending down to terrorism."
"Look, politicians are safe," the IDF war veteran and Almagor founder, told The Jerusalem Post when asked why Palestinian prisoners are released for Israeli hostages or, in some cases, their corpses, even though they sometimes return to terrorism.
Politicians "are going with body guards, with safe, heavy trucks. The people on the street, they will pay for terrorists who [go] back to the village and immediately [go] back to the business [of terrorism]," he said referring to cases when terror attacks were carried out by prisoners released in exchange deals
"We see also how the leaders of Hamas, they [were] very happy," he said referring to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's visit
with the family of Avera Mengistu in Ashkelon last week. Mengistu, who the family claims is mentally ill, went missing in Gaza after managing to cross the Strip's border fence. He is one of two Israelis who are thought to be in the Gaza Strip against their will.
Indor said that Netanyahu's visit gave Hamas more incentive to raise the stakes before agreeing to release any hostages or bodies of soldiers. He said that no prisoner should be released because even if only a small percentage of them will return to a life of terrorism, that is enough to create "waves of terrorism" throughout the country.
The Almagor CEO also spoke about the issue of the death penalty for terrorists
, an issue on which Knesset members were supposed to vote last week. The vote has been postponed for three months
while a legislative committee discusses the issue further. Indor viewed this move as a way to defer the issue and push it out of the public eye.
"A life sentence is not enough for terrorists," he said. "It cannot be that the person who murders [is] in jail and after 15 years, sometimes after eight years, is out. He's going back to the family
. The balance of justice has to be built up," he said.
"Less prisoners in jail is less kidnapping. Less prisoners in jail is less terrorists in the world."
Indor said that the role of Almagor is to "show that the nation doesn't give up in fighting prisoner releases
." Almagor, he said, serves to put pressure on the government in to prevent further prisoner swaps. They do this by bringing together lawyers, public relation specialists and activist groups.
"Soldiers are strong, officers are strong, but 80 percent of fighting against terrorism today, in my eyes, is in civil life -- in the press, in the media, in the [legal] systems. There we are. The people against terrorism."
Terrorism will continue spreading throughout the region if the government continues to release prisoners, Indor said.
"They see that they can break in other nations and win by bombs, by kidnapping. Israel is standing at the front line."