GILA MOLCHO, sister of Ian Feinberg, who was murdered .
(photo credit: Reuters)
When the murderer of her brother Ian Feinberg is released tomorrow to a hero’s welcome, Gila Molcho says she knows where she’ll be – surrounded by loved ones and disconnected from the news.
“I won’t give their victory parties any of my time. I’ll just make sure people I love are around me,” she said Monday.
In October 2011, one of the men who hacked and shot Feinberg to death in the Gaza Strip in April 1993 – where he was working on economic revitalization plans for the area – was one of more than 1,000 prisoners released as part of the deal to return captive IDF soldier Gilad Schalit. This time around, when the second convicted killer of Feinberg is released, the pill is harder to swallow.
“At least for Gilad Shalit he came home, there was some sort of comfort. This time I have nothing to give me comfort, just an empty political gesture.”
She added that she'll do what she did the last time around, saying “you turn off the TV and the phone and be very careful what you look at on the Internet.”
Her plan is similar to the advice Yossi Tzur said he has given families of the people killed by the 26 Palestinian prisoners.
“One of the families [of the victims] asked me this week what they should do and I told them to rent a cabin somewhere far off without electricity, to not pay attention to the news or let it destroy them.”
Tzur's advice comes from personal experience. In October 2011, the killers of his son Asaf, one of 17 people murdered in the bus 37 bombing in Haifa on March 5th, 2003, were released in the Shalit deal.
“I remember spending that day trying to run away from the news, from the press, the TV, everything. It was such a circus in the media, maybe this time it will be smaller. Hopefully they'll do it at night. Last time, it was everywhere, you couldn't get away from it, it was a very difficult day.”
The 54-year-old father of four from Haifa has attended hearings at the Supreme Court dealing with this round of prisoner releases, where he said he tried to show his support for the families who are about to experience what he first lived through two years earlier.
He said that the Israeli government seems to have learned about the propaganda effect of the releases, and now seals the windows of the buses as they leave Israeli prisons. Still, regardless of how large the celebrations are, Tzur said that the worst pain comes as the years go by, as you see reports in the Israeli and foreign press about how the released prisoners are moving on with their lives – in some cases becoming celebrities, TV personalities, politicians.
“It's even more difficult as time goes on because you see how well they're living at the expense of your child.”
Tzur said he opposed the Shalit deal and the current release of 104 prisoners, the first stage of which will happen on Wednesday morning when 26 Palestinian prisoners are released to the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
Tzur said that the families he's met, whose loved ones killers are among the 104, are dealing with a pain worsened by the uncertainty of knowing who will be released when, and the knowledge that there will be four different stages in which their pain will be the focus of the press and the public debate.
“It's a pain and stress that will renew itself four times over and over again.”