A heavy heart

Outrage, horror are the sentiments felt by anyone with a modicum of moral decency upon reading the list of Palestinian terrorists to be released.

August 13, 2013 23:34
3 minute read.
Opponenets of the deal to free terrorists hold photos of slain family members on Mount Herzl.

Bereaved families protest prisoner release outside Court 370. (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)


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Outrage and horror are the sentiments felt by anyone with a modicum of moral decency upon reading the list of Palestinian terrorists slated to be released midnight Tuesday.

Many of these “prisoners” are responsible for horrendously brutal murders perpetrated against innocent Israelis. Often, the murders took place well inside the Green Line, proof that these terrorists – referred to as “freedom fighters” by officials in the Palestinian Authority – made no distinctions between settlements and Israel proper.

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In one particularly tragic case that took place during Passover in 1994, Isaac Rotenberg, 67, a plasterer by trade, was attacked from behind by Atiyeh Salem Musa and an accomplice at a construction site where the three men worked, according to the Almagor Terror Victims Association’s website.

Rotenberg had managed to survive the Sobibor extermination camp; had stayed out of harm’s way during the period he fought against the Nazis with the partisans in the forests of Eastern Europe; and had lived through Israel’s War of Independence as a soldier in the IDF. But he would not survive his encounter with Musa. The repeated ax blows that Rotenberg sustained to the head and neck induced a coma. He died two days later.

And there were other bloodcurdling murders, such as the case of 79-year-old Morris Eisenstatt who was hacked to death by ax-wielding Fatah terrorist Ali Ibrahim al-Rai as he sat reading on a public bench in Kfar Saba; or the case of 72-year-old Israel Tenenbaum, who was beaten to death with a metal bar by Fatah terrorist Ahmed Mugdad; or Sean Feinberg, a 30-year-old father of three and proponent of Palestinian economic development, who was killed during a business meeting in Gaza City with the aid of Abdel Sa’id Ouda Yusef.

And the list goes on.

The Supreme Court ultimately rejected a petition brought by the families of the victims against the release of the cold-blooded murderers responsible for these atrocities and others. But Justice Elyakim Rubinstein – who admitted to the petitioners that he was devastated by the desperate pleading in court Monday of the mother of Lior Tubol, ruthlessly stabbed to death in 1990 at the age of 17 – made it clear that the decision was made with “a heavy heart.”

“We thought about the murderers who would be released to a hero’s welcome,” Rubinstein said.

He added that it was legitimate to question the logic of the move. “Why is this being done now as a prelude to negotiations – a move I believe is unprecedented – and not later, if at all, as a result of headway in the talks?” asked Rubenstein.

“Why is such a move, which the American broker would probably not agree to at all if the terrorists had killed US citizens, let alone as a condition for starting negations, become a legitimate condition because Palestinians are demanding it of Israel? “And yet,” concluded Rubinstein, “the court must rule in accordance with the law.”

If we are to believe Jeffrey Goldberg, who wrote about the Israeli-Palestinian talks in his latest Bloomberg column, European threats of boycott and delegitimization of Israel were leveraged by US Secretary of State John Kerry to extract from Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu this prisoner release. Netanyahu is worried that, left unchecked, the European-led campaign against Israel will change the tide in the international community in a way that if and when Israel is forced to launch a military operation to defend itself, either on its southern border against Hamas-controlled Gaza or the lawless Sinai Peninsula or in the North against Hezbollah, Western powers will rush to condemn us before we have a chance to defend ourselves.

The irony has not been lost on us: Europe, the continent that, through its lethal anti-Semitism, has done the most to prove the existential need for a Jewish state capable of defending its people, now has the chutzpah to pressure Israel to either free the murderers of Jewish Europeans who managed, miraculously, to escape the Shoah, or else face a geopolitical reality in which Israel will find itself increasingly isolated and unable to muster the international legitimacy to protect its people from Islamism, the latest metastasis of anti-Semitism.

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