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Monday, July 09, 2007

Prisoner terrorist release won't help Abu Mazen

Israel's cabinet voted yesterday to release 250 prisoners terrorists to be named by Prime Minister Ehud K. Olmert in a bid to prop up the unelected regime of 'moderate' 'Palestinian' President Mahmoud Abbas Abu Mazen.

In order to maintain a pretext of giving a damn about the security of Israelis, Olmert has said that the 'Palestinians' to be released will only be those who "have no blood on their hands" (as if that has been a helpful criterion in the past), are close to the end of their sentences, and of course, since Hamas and all those other 'terrorists' are Abu Mazen's enemies, the terrorists to be released will only be good terrorists from Fatah.

Writing in this morning's Jerusalem Post, 'Palestinian' journalist Khaled Abu Toameh, who is a pretty straight shooter, says that the criteria for the terrorist release may not only not help Abu Mazen, they may even hurt him and further weaken his unelected 'government':
Hamas, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, and Islamic Jihad have expressed deep concern over the government's decision to distinguish between the prisoners on the basis of their political affiliation.

"Israel is mistaken to think that the release of Fatah prisoners will strengthen Abbas," said a senior representative of the PFLP in the West Bank. "The families of the other prisoners will never forgive him for abandoning their sons. This move proves that he's the president of only some of the Palestinians."

Even Fatah leaders are unhappy with the decision to release only 250 prisoners. They say the number is too small and point out that most of the inmates were scheduled to be released soon anyway, after completing their sentences.

Moreover, the Fatah leaders are disappointed that the decision does not include prisoners with "blood on their hands" and those who are serving lengthy sentences.

"We were hoping that Israel would release prisoners who have been behind bars for more than 20 years," said Ashraf al-Ajrami, the PA Minister for Prisoners Affairs. "We welcome the decision, but it's not enough. In order to strengthen the Palestinian Authority, Israel must release prisoners who have been in prison for many years."


"The Israeli decision [to release 250 Fatah prisoners] is a humiliation for Abbas and the entire Palestinian people," said Sami Abu Zuhri, a Hamas spokesman in the Gaza Strip. "The release of prisoners who are about to complete their sentences won't help Abbas. The Palestinians won't buy this deception."

The families of the remaining prisoners are likely to step up their pressure on Abbas following the release of these inmates. And when he fails to deliver, Abbas's credibility will be dealt yet another blow. As a senior Fatah official admitted on Sunday, "The release of the Fatah prisoners could only make matters worse for us, because it will look as if Israel is rewarding Fatah for agreeing to collaborate with the Israelis and Americans."
Olmert may try to release more than 250 terrorists or to change the criteria, but it will not be so simple. Seven ministers already voted against the release in its current form (the four Shas ministers, the two Yisrael Beiteinu ministers and Kadima Achora's Shaul Mofaz, a former IDF Chief of Staff and Defense Minister) . Public security minister Avi Dichter (former head of the General Security Service) opposed it but did not vote against it saying that "none of the prisoner releases implemented over the past 13 years had resulted in any activity by the Palestinian Authority designed to reduce terrorism." (I don't think even Olmert has any expectation that Abu Mazen will wake up the morning after the terrorist release and start fighting terrorism).

But perhaps the greatest indicator of this terrorist release being a farce is the following release criterion noted by Justice Ministry Director General Moshe Gal:
Gal added that Israel would also not release any prisoner who had already been released before, signed a promise that he would not take part in terrorist activity and been arrested again for such crimes.
I don't recall anyone signing a promise like that since the mid-90's. And don't expect them to sign promises like that - or to keep them - this time either.


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