Israelis protesting the release of Palestinian terrorists.
(photo credit: Daniel K. Eisenbud)
“When we put terrorists in prison, it sends a message: Don’t mess with the
Israeli nation – we are tough,” said Meir Indor on Sunday afternoon, as he sat
surrounded by images of the faces of terror victims, whose murderers are
scheduled to be freed in two days. “Releasing them tells the world that Jewish
blood is cheap.”
Indor, the chairman of the Almagor (“Don’t Be
Terrorized”) Terror Victims Association, who was born and raised in Israel, said
that after serving in the IDF and hunting terrorists, he knows unequivocally
that releasing them is a profound and deadly mistake.
“One thing we knew
when we captured them is that we have to keep them in prison for the maximum
period,” he said. “These men are what I call ‘life bombs,’ because no matter
where they go, they will kill – because that is the agenda of their
Indor said that when convicted killers are released, the message
is unmistakable: “If you kill a Jew, you’ll never serve a full prison term, and
[you’ll] become a celebrated hero by the Palestinian Authority and Islamic
Joined by several demonstrators stationed a few hundred meters
from the Prime Minister’s Residence in Jerusalem for the fifth day in a row,
Indor added that the hypocrisy exhibited by the United States is as egregious as
it is deadly.
“Americans don’t release prisoners, but when they make
Israelis do so, it creates a double standard that the Arabs understand all too
well,” he continued. “I can assure you, they will kill again.”
sentiment, accompanied by palpable rage, was reiterated Sunday by a
cross section of Israelis, all of whom vehemently oppose the scheduled release
of 26 convicted Palestinian killers late Monday night or early Tuesday
A celebratory ceremony will immediately be held in Ramallah with
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
In July the government
agreed to free 104 such Palestinians in four stages during the nine-month
negotiating period that ends in April. This is the third release. Fifty- two
prisoners have been freed in two prior releases.
“I have a message for
[US President Barack] Obama and [Secretary of State John] Kerry,” said protester
Lizi Hameiri. “Don’t patronize us. We are not a colony that you will
force to release terrorists. We are the ones who are going to pay the price in
Hameiri deemed the hypocrisy of the US demand as unacceptable and
“You are forcing us to release predator animals in our
streets – something you would never do in the US,” she said, raising her
“You sell my people’s blood cheap and our kids are not safe
anymore because of you!” Ortal Tamam, whose uncle was murdered by terrorists in
1984, said Kerry has ostensibly treated Israelis like “puppets” in an
internationally staged performance.
“He plays with us without knowing who
we are, or the pain this is creating,” she said. “It’s a shame that he is making
Israel do something he would never do in a million years, and with good reason:
because it’s insane.”
Further exacerbating the protesters’ anger was
Kerry’s widely ridiculed statement in November warning Israelis that if peace
talks break down, it may usher in a third intifada.
“When Kerry said
that, he ensured the Arabs will make it true,” said Indor.
In an open
letter from Netanyahu to Israeli citizens in July, shortly before the initial
phase of the fourstage release, the prime minister addressed his controversial
decision, noting that he understood the pain it would inflict on the families of
those who had been killed.
“This is an incredibly difficult decision,”
wrote the prime minister, whose brother Yonatan was killed in the raid on
Entebbe in 1976. “It hurts the bereaved families, it hurts all of the Israeli
people and it hurts me very much.”
While Netanyahu conceded that the
release clashes with “the principle of justice,” he added that “sometimes prime
ministers are forced to make decisions that go against public opinion – when the
issue is important for the country.”
Asked how she is internalizing the
prisoner release, Sara Hatzni-Cohen, who is eight months pregnant, said it has
forced her to ponder how she will explain such a morally tenuous arrangement to
her son one day.
“How can I explain to my son when he is older what
Israel did?” she asked. “How can you send your son to the army when you know he
puts his life at risk to fight terrorists, and 10 years later the government
that sent him to fight releases them?” Despite her misgivings, Hatzni-Cohen said
she will not hesitate to send her son to the IDF when the time comes, although
it will be exceedingly difficult.
“I love my country with all my heart,
and I will send my son anywhere he is needed, but it will be very hard knowing
the State of Israel releases terrorists for nothing,” she said. “It’s going to
happen again because now it’s no longer a taboo.”
American-Israeli David Jacobs cited the US response to the September 11, 2001
attack on the World Trade Center to illustrate American hypocrisy.
Arab terrorists blew up the Twin Towers, the American government went into Iraq,
killed a bunch of civilians and had its leader hung,” he said. “Then they went
to Afghanistan and killed everyone in sight, whether they had anything to do
with it or not, and rightly killed [Osama] bin Laden. After that they
invaded Pakistan and killed more people.”
Jacobs then asked rhetorically:
“Now Israel is releasing terrorists at the request of the US government?” Ron
Hillel, an 18-year-old conscript preparing to join the IDF in the coming months,
attended the demonstration with his friends Yuval Arzoni and Idan Amer, also new
recruits. Hillel said Tuesday’s release is antithetical to why he is joining the
“In the army I will gladly protect my family and country by
stopping terrorists,” said Hillel. “So it makes me angry that these murderers
will become free.”
Asked how the decision has affected his view of the
leadership of the country, Hillel paused for a moment before looking at the
images of the murdered terror victims.
“It makes me want to one day
become the man in power, to make sure this never happens again,” he said.