The immoral release of terrorists

The immoral release of terrorists who were sentenced to life imprisonment is a concession guaranteed to embolden terrorism across the Middle East.

Palestinians celebrate prisoner release 370 (photo credit: Ben Hartman)
Palestinians celebrate prisoner release 370
(photo credit: Ben Hartman)
This week, a day before the resumption of peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, a group of 26 terrorists (all PLO members) are scheduled to be released by Israel as a goodwill gesture toward the Palestinians.
As part of US Secretary of State John Kerry’s effort to bring the two parties to the table, Israel had to surrender on three major points, including the immoral release of murderers – among whom are Israeli Arab citizens who massacred Israelis. Israel also had to agree both to an undeclared freeze on building in the West Bank as well as to a return to the 1967 borders.
These demands were literally imposed on Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu by the US administration. Meanwhile, the Palestinian Authority simply had to agree to participate in the talks, without making any concession – not even a pledge to stop the daily incitement against Israel in the Palestinian media.
Why does the PA not stop the daily incitement against Israel? And why does the US administration not insist that the PA do so? Amid peace talks, Palestinian propaganda keeps spreading venom against Israel in the media as well as in the educational system controlled by the PA.
And Palestinian history teaching, and the teaching of geography, both ignore Israel’s existence and falsify its history.
Incitement is a lethal weapon with longterm effect. It has to be dismantled now to give the next generations a chance to enjoy peace. Unfortunately I write from experience, as a father who lost his teenage daughter, Tal Kehrmann, in March 2003 in a suicide attack aboard a bus in Haifa.
Murderers of innocent civilians have been rewarded by the PA. People who only a few years ago massacred families are now honored with streets named after them.
Others, who had brutally killed civilians just because they lived in Israel, were honored with squares named after them.
And some released murderers already have a job waiting for them in the PA.
Releasing Palestinian terrorists gives a boost to the image of PA President Mahmoud Abbas, who represents only a minority of Palestinians. And it makes easier to recruit new ones because prospective Palestinian murderers know that, no matter what, someone will always be looking after them, and that they will be released from prison.
While those who are about to be released will enjoy the opportunity of reuniting with their families, I will never get my dear daughter Tal back.
And while they will bear new children, I will forever continue to live the pain of her loss and stare at her tombstone.
THE IMMORAL release of terrorists who were sentenced to life imprisonment is a concession guaranteed to embolden terrorism across the Middle East. As if to prove this point, the US administration, just a few days ago, had to close 25 embassies around the globe, citing credible information of an imminent attack by one of al-Qaida’s affiliates.
I have grown disillusioned with diplomatic experiments that have led nowhere and cost me dearly. In order to live in peace incitement has to stop and mutual trust has to be built. These steps take time to mature. Only when both sides have established trust should Israel be willing to make the painful concession of releasing murderers.
I am vehemently opposed to releasing convicted murderers merely to entice Palestinian leaders to enter negotiations and give a boost to terrorism. Rewards should be given at the end of a successful peace process – not as a prostitution fee a day before the negotiations start.
The author’s daughter Tal was murdered in a terrorist attack on March 5, 2003, on bus No. 37 Haifa.