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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

They'll go back to terror, won't they?

As Israel contemplates the prospect of releasing anywhere from 1,000 to 2,000 terrorists in exchange for kidnapped IDF corporal Gilad Shalit, I'd like to go back to September 2003 and look at a suicide bombing that took place here in Jerusalem.

Let's go to the videotape.

The suicide bomber that night was Ramez Sali Abu Salim. According to the Jerusalem Post,
"In the terror acts committed by these freed terrorists, hundreds of Israelis were murdered, and thousands were wounded," the report said.

One example was the suicide attack in Cafe Hillel in the capital's German Colony neighborhood in 2003, in which seven people were killed including Dr. David Applebaum, head of Emergency Medicine at Shaare Zedek Medical Center, and his daughter Nava, who was to have been married the next day.

The bomber, Ramez Sali Abu Salim, from a village near Ramallah, had been released from an Israeli prison seven months earlier. He was sent by the Hamas command in Ramallah to perpetrate the attack.
Salim was far from an isolated case. A report done this past summer by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs shows that more than half of the terrorists released from Israel jails return to terrorism.
* According to an informal estimate by Israeli security bodies, about 50 percent of the terrorists freed for any reason whatsoever returned to the path of terror, either as perpetrator, planner, or accomplice. In the terror acts committed by these freed terrorists, hundreds of Israelis were murdered, and thousands were wounded.

* Israel freed 400 Palestinian prisoners and five other prisoners in return for Elhanan Tannenbaum, who was held captive by Hizbullah, and for the bodies of three soldiers kidnapped on Mount Dov. According to Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee Chairman Tzahi Hanegbi, from the date of the deal on January 29, 2004, until April 17, 2007, those freed in the deal had murdered 35 Israelis.

* An investigation by the Almagor Terror Victims Association in Israel revealed that at least 30 of the terrorist attacks perpetrated since 2000 were committed by terrorists freed in deals with terror organizations. Many were freed in the framework of goodwill gestures because they were defined by Israel as “without blood on their hands.” The bloody swath cut by these terrorists claimed the life of 177 persons, with many others wounded and made invalids.
In fact, Mr. Salim had been released twice from prison.
The murderer, Ramez Sali Abu Salim, from Rantis, northwest of Ramallah, had been freed from an Israeli prison in 2002. He was rearrested a few months later, but was freed again on February 20, 2003. Seven months later he was sent by the Hamas command in Ramallah to commit a terror attack in the heart of Jerusalem.
Some of you may recall that Nava Appelbaum was a classmate of my eldest daughter. When the Cafe Hillel attack happened, I was in London with that daughter on vacation. I went to an Internet cafe to check my email on the way home from synagogue the morning after the attack, saw that Nava had been murdered, and spent the rest of the day trying to prevent my daughter from finding out. In the evening, before we went to the airport, I left my daughter alone in our hotel room to go to synagogue, and she turned on the Beeb and heard Nava mentioned by name. When I came back to the hotel, my daughter was in shock. She asked if I'd heard that Nava had been murdered in a terror attack. I said that I had and that I had kept it from her, because I wanted her to at least enjoy her last day in London. She was silent the rest of the evening.

We were driven to the airport by an Israeli cousin of mine who works in London during the week. When he is in Israel, he volunteers for Magen David Adom - our equivalent of the Red Cross, which operates most of the ambulances in this country. He knew Dr. Appelbaum well because he had worked with him at Shaare Zedek (as had my daughter in her national service a couple of years earlier). My cousin told us in the car that he got a call from the scene of the bombing. The rescue workers all recognized Dr. Appelbaum but could do nothing to save him. They did try to save Nava, but were not successful.

If God forbid Israel releases hundreds of terrorists in exchange for Gilad Shalit, how many more Cafe Hillel's will there be? How many more David and Nava Appelbaum's HY"D (may God avenge their blood)? Is that a chance that we as a society ought to be taking? I don't think so.


At 1:38 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

Carl, it would be different if Israel had the death penalty. Its easy for politicians to regard human life cheaply when terrorists pay no real price for their crimes. If Israel had the death penalty, it would be nearly impossible for the government to release them from punishment from their crimes. Tell me honestly if the Club Med prison conditions convicted terrorists enjoy in Israel is anywhere close to a fitting punishment for what they've done to society.


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