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Thursday, March 15, 2007

177 Israelis murdered in 30 terror attacks by released 'prisoners'

This morning, the 'Palestinian Authority' released the 'unity government's' platform. I will try to have more on it later, but one of the provisions is that "the government will work to end and solve the affair of kidnapped Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, as part of an honorable prisoner exchange deal."

I would like to see Shalit freed, and I believe that every Jewish Israeli would like to see him freed. That aspiration cuts across all sectors of Israeli society. However, I have also written on this blog many times that I don't believe that Shalit's release should become the be-all-and-end-all of Israeli policy:
Okay, I am going to say it: I fail to understand why Gilad Shalit's release is 'the important question' for Israel. Sure, we would all like to see him released. But once upon a time, this country did not negotiate with terrorists. Shalit is of no use to Hamas dead, and given that we know that he is alive and well, it is very unlikely that he will now be harmed. I fail to see the urgency to get him home NOW if the cost is going to be so high. And there is no guarantee that Hamas will not turn him into another Ron Arad anyway, regardless of what we give them. I just cannot see the government allowing the entire country to be held hostage and exposed to further terror to free one soldier.
Note that the 'unity government' platform calls for "an honorable prisoner exchange deal." And therein lies the problem.

Even Hamas understands that Israel cannot be seen as releasing 'prisoners' who 'have blood on their hands' except as part of a 'final settlement.' The way this has been worked around for many years now - going back to the Ahmed Jibril exchange of 1985 - was not to release 'prisoners' with 'blood on their hands.' That is to say that the candidates for release in most cases were the perpetrators of failed terror attacks. To suggest that they are any less culpable (or in legal terms, that they had any less mens rea - bad intent) than those terrorists who were 'successful' in carrying out their attacks is simply delusional.

The proof is in a study released in September 2006 by the Almagor Terror Victims Association (which does not have a web site as far as I can tell), headed by Meir Indor, which was recently updated. The study reveals that 177 innocent people have been murdered in 30 terror attacks perpetrated by 'released prisoners' over the last several years. Most of those murdered were Jewish Israelis. When released, the 'released prisoners' did not 'have blood on their hands.' As the report states:
It should be emphasized that the term 'without blood on their hands' portrays these terrorists as less dangerous - but in fact they are 'without blood on their hands' only because the Israeli security services managed to arrest them before they could murder, or because they were indirectly involved in murder, or the like. In actuality, they would be quite happy to be 'with blood on their hands.'
The names of the terrorists and the terror attacks that they carried out after their release reads like a who's who of terror attacks in Israel over the last several years. The terror attacks included:
* the lynching of two soldiers in Ramallah (Oct. 2000)
* shooting deaths of Binyamin and Talia Kahane (Dec. 2000)
* suicide explosions in Netanya, 8 dead (March and May, 2001)
* Sea Food Market suicide blast, 3 dead (March 2002)
* shooting in Atzmona yeshiva, 5 youths dead (March 2002)
* Park Hotel suicide bomber during Passover Seder, 30 dead (March 2002)
* bus blasts at Megiddo, Karkur, Jerusalem, 55 dead (June 2002 - June 2003)
* suicide bombing outside Jerusalem's Cafe Hillel, 7 dead including Dr. David Yaakov Appelbaum and his daughter Nava – one the eve of her wedding. [Nava Applebaum HY"D was a classmate of my eldest daughter. CiJ] (September 2003)
* double suicide attacks in Be'er Sheva, 16 dead (August 2004)
The released terrorists included the following:
Marwan Barghouti - originally arrested in 1976; released; a leader of the first intifada; arrested and expelled to Jordan; allowed to return in 1994; became Tanzim terrorist leader in 2000, overseeing many terrorist attacks involving the murder of some 35 Israelis; arrested in 2002, sentenced to five life sentences; PA demands his release - Shabak objects.

Sheikh Ahmed Yassin - originally arrested in 1983; released a year later in the Jibril exchange; founded Hamas in 1987; arrested for ordering the kidnapping and killing of two soldiers and sentenced to life in prison; released in 1997, after the botched assassination of Khaled Mashaal; continued to organize terrorist attacks; killed by Israeli rockets in 2004.

Saleh Shehade - released from prison in 2000; headed the Hamas military wing; oversaw many attacks, including the infiltration into an IDF outpost in which four soldiers were murdered and the Atzmonah murder of five youths; killed in IDF air attack in 2002.

Abdullah Abdel Kader Kawasme - first arrested in 1988; expelled to Lebanon in 1992; after his return, imprisoned again for Hamas membership and terrorist activity; released in 1994; oversaw many terror attacks, including over 40 deaths, and became known as "Father of the Ticking Time Bombs; killed by Israeli forces while trying to escape arrest in June 2003.

Karim Yunis Awis - sentenced to life in 1991 for killing informant; released several years later as part of the "gestures" to Palestinian Authority; dispatched two terrorists to murder two Israelis in Afula bus station in November 2001; dispatched terrorists to murder three Israelis in Jerusalem in March 2002; later that year, an IDF Military Court ruled that "the gesture [of his release] was not justified, and the heavy price was paid by many Israeli families."

Nasser Abu Hameid - arrested several times, sentenced to life in prison in 1990 for murdering informants; released in 1999 in the framework of the Sharm a-Sheikh agreement; Dec. 2000 - murdered Eli Cohen near Givat Ze'ev and the Kahane couple near Ofrah; Feb. 2002 - initiated two murderous attacks in Jerusalem area; Dec. 2002 -sentenced to seven life sentences.

Nasser Abu Hamiyad – released as part of the Oslo Accords; took part in Ramallah lynch, mutilating bodies of IDF reservists Vadim Norzitz and Yossi Avrahami; February 25, 2002: Initiated attack on Jerusalem’s Neve Yaakov neighborhood, murdering a female police officers and wounding 10; March 5, 2002: Responsible for attack on Seafood Market in Tel Aviv, murdering Israelis Eliyahu Dahan and Yossi Havi, wounding 31.

Abbas ibn Muhammad Alsayd – released in 1996; had a part in three Netanya attacks: March 4, 2001: Dispatched Herzl street suicide bombing, murdering Naftali Din, Shlomit Ziv, Yvgeni Malkin and wounding 56; May 18, 2001: Responsible for suicide bombing of HaSharon Mall in Netanya, murdering Miriam Wachsman, Yulia Tartiakov, David (Moti) Yarkoni, Vladislov Sorokin and Tirza Tishbi, and wounding 86; Helped plan and carry out Park Hotel Passover massacre, murdering 29 and wounding 155.

Ramez Sali Abu Salim – released February 20, 2003; just seven months after release, on September 9: Blew himself up at Jerusalem’s Cafי Hillel, murdering David Shimon Avizdris, Yehiel Emil Toubol, Shafik Karem, Alon Mizrachi, Gila Moshe, Dr. David Yaakov Appelbaum and his daughter Nava – one the eve of her wedding. [Nava Applebaum HY"D was a classmate of my eldest daughter. CiJ]

Jihad Alamrin – released as part of the Jibril deal in 1985: Founded the Al Aksa Brigades terror group in Gaza; planted explosives that killed IDF soldiers Cpl. Asher Zagori, Cpl. Moshe Peled, Cpl. Ron Lavi, Cpl. Matan Biderman and others.
It is important to note that the original study only covered the 6912 terrorists released between 1993 (when the Oslo Declaration of Principles was signed) and 1999 and only covered terror attacks perpetrated through August 2003. If anything, the actual current numbers are even higher.

The latest estimate I have heard would have Israel release 1000-1400 'prisoners' in exchange for Shalit. But the real measure of how much Shalit will cost is not in how many 'prisoners' are released but in how many Israelis are murdered as a result. It will be several years before we can intelligently answer that question.

One of the three commandments a Jew cannot violate to save his own life is murder. The Gemara sums this up succinctly by saying, "why do you think your blood is redder than his?" On the other hand, our Rabbis teach that when a border area is attacked on the Sabbath, we are allowed to violate the Sabbath to repel the attack, because otherwise the entire country could be in danger. When the IDF went into Gaza after Shalit and Lebanon after Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev, I viewed those as border attacks (which they were) and felt that it was worth risking soldiers' lives to try to rescue Shalit, Goldwasser and Regev. Soldiers are equipped and prepared for danger, and while obviously soldiers sometimes are killed (over 150 died in this past summer's fiascoes) or wounded, at least they can defend themselves. Besides, the failure to respond to the kidnappings, would have invited more kidnappings. An individual citizen has no defense against suicide bombers. Because of that, releasing potential suicide bombers in exchange for Gilad Shalit is morally wrong. His blood is no redder than that of the hundreds of potential Israeli victims who may die as a result of his release.

Almagor has found that most released terrorists return to terrorism after their release "leading to a price in human life many times greater than the grave difficulties faced by a given individual family."

In summary, I must endorse Almagor's conclusions:
We therefore call upon the Israeli public not to be led astray by word games that make light of the terrorists' murderous intentions, and not to comfort ourselves with the hope that the next attack won't hit us or those close to us. We, victims of terrorism, know from our own bitter experience that for us, these were false illusions. As soon as the Tenenbaum exchange was completed, Hizbullah began planning its next kidnapping - the results of which we all experienced in the war last summer. We call upon the public to totally oppose these vain and lethal exchanges, despite the emotional difficulties.
I could not agree more.


At 5:41 PM, Blogger Michael said...

So why not offer a true "exchange:"
One pali prisoner, for Shalit. Make that offer, and see what they say. Why do all "exchanges" mean 800 or 1000 pali terrorists for 1 or 2 or 3 Israelis?

I ask only as devil's advocate, not because I want any of those slime out of jail. Shalit needs to be released before we (Israel) should even consider talking to the palis.

At 1:46 AM, Blogger pommygranate said...

It is very difficult to follow this story in the West. There is almost no news. What is the current fate of Goldwasser and Regev?


At 7:29 AM, Blogger Carl in Jerusalem said...


There has been no word on them almost from the start.

I wrote a post a little while back where I said that while I pray that I am wrong, I do not believe they are alive. You can find that post here. Yes, I still stand by it.


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