Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Netanyahu's Shalit Deal Recklessly Endangers Innocent Israelis

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has reportedly reached an agreement with the Hamas terrorist group to release over 1000 terrorists from Israeli jails in exchange for Gilad Shalit, an Israeli soldier who was illegally abducted on June 25, 2006 by Hamas and who has been denied visitation by the International Committee of the Red Cross. The terrorists slated for release by Israel include hundreds who were sentenced to life in prison--in other words, killers who are directly responsible for attacks that killed and maimed thousands of innocent civilians. This is a disastrous, evil decision that will have horrifying--and quite predictable--consequences. Israel has made similarly lopsided exchanges several times and on each such occasion the released terrorists have subsequently killed many innocent men, women and children. Perhaps the most infamous exchange happened in May 1985--the so-called Jibril Deal--when Israel released 1150 prisoners to get back three soldiers; one of those 1150 prisoners--Ahmed Yassin--then founded Hamas. Thus, the Jibril Deal led to the Shalit kidnapping--and many other horrors--and the Netanyahu Deal will inevitably lead to future horrors.

In a December 9, 2009 article, Jeff Jacoby declared:

Few Israeli policies have been as counterproductive or morally questionable as the lopsided prisoner exchanges it has entered into with terrorist organizations like Hamas, Hezbollah, and the PLO. Time and again, Israel has paid for the freedom of a few POWs--sometimes just the remains of a few POWs--by releasing hundreds of violent detainees, many of them complicit in the deaths of civilians. And time and again, the newly freed terrorists have picked up where they left off. Yassin is only the most notorious example. According to Israeli journalist Nadav Shragai, "about 50 percent of the terrorists freed for any reason--including those set free in one-sided 'goodwill gestures'--returned to the path of terror, either as a perpetrator, planner, or accomplice." An analysis by the Almagor Terror Victims Association in 2007 found that at least 30 attacks in the preceding five years had been committed by prisoners freed in deals with terrorist groups. More than 175 men, women, and children died in those attacks; many others were severely injured.

Some of the most infamous, heartrending terrorist attacks against Israel--including the March 27, 2002 Passover attack on the Park Hotel that killed 35 and wounded hundreds more--were perpetrated by prisoners who were released by Israel in exchanges or as "goodwill gestures." Nasser Abu Hameid, who had been imprisoned for five murders, was released by Israel in September 1999 as part of the Sharm el-Sheikh Agreement; he subsequently participated in the mutilation of the corpses of Israeli reserve soldiers Vadim Norzitz and Yossi Avrahami--non-combatants who took a wrong turn into Ramallah on October 12, 2000 and were literally torn apart limb from limb simply because they were Jews--and he murdered several Israelis in various terrorist attacks, including the roadside shooting of Rabbi Binyamin Kahane and Kahane's wife Talia.

Jacoby concluded his article with these prescient words:

But to knowingly risk the lives of civilians in order to protect soldiers is to turn the social contract inside out. The state's first duty to its citizens is to protect their lives and liberties; that is what justifies the creation of a military in the first place. Releasing hundreds of terrorists may mean that Shalit comes home safely, but it almost certainly condemns other Israeli citizens to death. The plight of Shalit and his family is heartbreaking and tragic. Yet it cannot be right to win his freedom by risking the lives of the very civilians he, like every soldier, is sworn to protect.

In 1976, Israeli troops flew 2,000 miles to rescue Jewish hostages being held in Uganda's Entebbe airport, a spectacular feat that electrified the world. Jonathan Netanyahu, the mission commander (and brother of Israel's current prime minister), died in that operation. He made the supreme sacrifice in the service of his nation, as soldiers so often have. Before the Israelis agree to a reckless deal with Hamas, perhaps they should reflect on Entebbe, and pause to ask themselves: What would Jonathan do?

Prime Minister Netanyahu has bodyguards and elite security services to protect him. Who will protect the innocent Jewish children who are going to be slaughtered by the terrorists Netanyahu is releasing? Just as importantly, who will hold Netanyahu responsible for the blood on his hands when such preventable atrocities predictably and inevitably happen? During Netanyahu's earlier term as Prime Minister in the 1990s he agreed to give away 80% of Hebron even though this exposed the city's Jewish residents to sniper attacks from Arab terrorists--and on March 26, 2001 an Arab sniper killed 10 month old Shalhevet Pass by shooting her in the head as she sat in her baby stroller. Netanyahu has yet to be held accountable for recklessly ceding control over most of Hebron and he has no right to set free terrorists who have blood on their hands and who will eagerly seek opportunities to spill even more innocent blood.

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