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Monday, November 30, 2009

Govt. to High Court: Murderers to be released based on 'security and moral' justifications

One of the reasons I didn't become a litigator is that I'm not good at lying through my teeth advocating for positions in which I don't believe. As such, I don't envy the government lawyer who has to make this argument to the Supreme Court sitting as a High Court of Justice on Monday afternoon.
The state prosecutor responded that Israel is weighing the option of freeing 450 prisoners in the initial stage of the deal, "based on security and moral justifications." The unilateral release of 530 more prisoners, to be selected by Israel, is being planned for a later date as a gesture to the Palestinian people. Drafting the criteria for the second stage has yet to begin, nor has a potential list of inmates been compiled.
'Security and moral justification' for releasing 450 murderers? You've got to be kidding. Criteria not yet drafted? Don't believe it. I'd bet that they have an exact count of who those 530 terrorists are and how many of them meet the current criteria for not having blood on their hands.

As for the government agreeing with Hamas to keep the list secret in a bid to quell dissent over the lopsided trade, that's simply beneath contempt.

By the way, remember that last week I reported that the military censor was preventing details of the 'exchange' from being disclosed and that the censor's actions were out of place? The government speaks to that issue too.
The response also noted that the military censor is entitled to prohibit the publication of any piece of information it believes "will significantly damage the possibility of returning Shalit alive and healthy," or alternatively, if it believes publication will compromise national security.

Moreover, it said, it is virtually impossible to hold public negotiations with a "bitter enemy," a terrorist organization holding a soldier captive and seeking the highest possible price in return for his release.

The state prosecutor wrote that ambiguity is essential to Israel's very existence, and that without it, "it is impossible to hold effective negotiations and reach the goal of returning the abducted soldier to Israel."
This reminds me of President Nixon's argument during the Watergate scandal that he was entitled to withhold evidence of his own criminal activity under 'executive privilege' because he had determined that its disclosure would damage 'national security.' The differences are that in America there is a Bill of Rights (we don't have one - if anyone tells you that there is free speech in Israel, they are lying) and 35 years ago the US Supreme Court was far less politicized.

Look for the Supreme Court to throw the petition out by tomorrow morning without requiring that names be released and without requiring the disclosure of the Shamgar Commission recommendations.

The country is in good hands. What could go wrong?


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