US President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Binyamin Netany.
(photo credit: REUTERS/Jason Reed)
Six weeks ago, a remarkable scene played out at the US National Defense
University in Washington.
In the middle of President Barack Obama’s
much-anticipated speech on US counterterrorism policy, a protester from a
far-left group interrupted the commander in chief and repeatedly heckled him,
calling for the immediate release of terror suspects being held at the
Guantanamo Bay detention center.
Clearly perturbed, Obama attempted to
silence the troublemaker while sticking to his remarks, in which he sought to
emphasize that only after a caseby- case review would the US release detainees
who had been cleared of terrorist involvement.
Of course, someone jeering
at a politician and disrupting his address is hardly in and of itself an
extraordinary event. But what made the incident so compelling was that it
highlighted the dissonance between American policy on handling terror suspects
and the policy it demands of Israel.
After all, within a few weeks of
Obama’s speech, US Secretary of State John Kerry was back in the Middle East for
yet another visit, reportedly pressing Israel to free over 100 convicted
Palestinian terrorists in line with demands made by Palestinian Authority
President Mahmoud Abbas.
In other words, America continues to hold in
detention those it suspects of being involved in terror, even as it asks Israel
to release those tried and convicted of murdering the innocent.
sheer, unabashed hypocrisy, which has unfortunately typified Washington’s
policy. Put simply, there is a stark and appalling double standard at
Take for example the Obama administration’s efforts to launch peace
talks with the Taliban and the Afghan government. Despite its intense desire to
find a diplomatic solution to the Afghan conflict, Washington has repeatedly
rejected the Taliban’s insistence that it free captured members of the movement
as a precondition to talks.
As The Washington Times
reported on June 18,
“The Taliban ditched US-led efforts to make peace in March 2012, citing the
Obama administration’s inaction on its demand to release five high-value Taliban
detainees from the US military detention facility in Guantanamo Bay,
And last month it was reported that the US had turned down similar
Taliban demands in the run-up to the opening of official negotiations.
while it steadfastly refuses to set terrorists free as a gesture to start talks,
Washington nonetheless expects Israel to do just that. And what makes this
particularly reprehensible is that Obama and Kerry appear to be going along with
Abbas’s demand that Israel release 103 Palestinians serving time for crimes and
terrorist acts committed prior to the 1993 Oslo Accords, most of whom have blood
on their hands.
This includes Palestinians who took part in especially
brutal attacks, such as the one that was carried out in September 1990 against
Amnon Pomerantz, a 46-year-old electrical engineer on reserve duty who made a
wrong turn in his car while driving through Gaza. Pomerantz ended up in a
refugee camp and was surrounded by a mob of Palestinians. Instead of offering
him directions, they stoned him until he fell unconscious, before proceeding to
set the vehicle on fire, chanting and cheering as Pomerantz was burned
And then there are the two Palestinians who firebombed an Israeli
passenger bus on October 30, 1988, murdering Rachel Weiss and her three young
children along with David Delarosa, a soldier who attempted to rescue the Weiss
Abbas is also demanding freedom for Salah Ali Hader Razeq, who
stabbed 64-year old historian and winner of the Israel Prize Professor Menachem
Stern to death on June 22, 1989.
It is simply unthinkable that Israel
should be expected to pay a price in order to get a meeting with Mahmoud Abbas.
If peace is truly in the interest of both sides, then there is no reason why the
Palestinians should charge an entrance fee to the negotiating
Moreover, letting bestial killers walk free is neither a gesture
nor an act of good will. It is in fact a breakdown of justice and morality, one
which weakens the law and order upon which society is based.
convicted terrorists is an offense to the memory of the victims and an insult to
their grieving loved ones, and it has no place as part of the negotiating
This is something that Washington readily understands when it
comes to those who kill Americans.
But clearly, with regard to Israel,
the Obama administration has a very different message for the government in
Jerusalem: do as we say, not as we do.
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