The majority of Israelis have reacted in pain over the release late Monday night of 26 Palestinian prisoners – all terrorists with blood on their hands.
According to recent polls, 85 percent of Israelis are opposed to releasing terrorists.
The prisoner release – the third out of four, totaling 24 convicted terrorists – was carried out as a so-called confidence-building gesture imposed by the U.S., the leading broker in the current round of Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations.
“The Israeli government’s commitment to release Palestinian prisoners helped enable the start and continuation of the final status negotiations, and we believe this is a positive step forward in the overall process,” State Department Deputy Spokeswoman Marie Harf stated.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry “expresses his appreciation” for the release, she said.
Bereaved families have been especially devastated by the move. Thousands have protested across the country, but to no avail.
Each and every one of the terrorists released last night had been convicted in connection with the murder of Israelis. They were all imprisoned before the start of the original peace negotiations in 1993.
The list includes, for example, Mahmoud Salam Saliman Abu Harbish, who in 1988 burned to death 33-year-old Israeli mother Rachel Weiss and her three small children along with soldier David Delarosa.
The released terrorists all returned to their homes in Hamas-run Gaza and Palestinian Authority-administered territories, arriving in the wee hours of the morning.
As happens with every Palestinian-prisoner release, the 18 murderers hailing from PA territory received a joyous welcome home. They were treated like celebrities and greeted personally by PA President Mahmoud Abbas at his headquarters in Ramallah, despite the fact that the PA is Israel’s alleged peace partner.
“Today is a day of joy to our people, our families and our hero prisoners who have achieved freedom,” Abbas declared, vowing that peace will not be achieved until every last prisoner gains freedom.
On Sunday, the Ministerial Committee on Legislation approved a bill to annex the Jordan Valley, which the prime minister and the defense establishment have deemed critical to Israel’s security. Abbas, during the festivities honoring the freed murderers, took the opportunity to slam the bill, stressing that no peace deal could be finalized without Israel’s relinquishing of the Jordan Valley.
Abbas, who also gave a hero’s welcome to previously released prisoners, reportedly awarded them with $50,000 each as well as employment opportunities.
Residents of the PA territories, including children, continue to be influenced by intense antisemitic and anti-Israel incitement, including at PA-hosted cultural events honoring terrorists.
Data compiled by the Israeli government indicated that dozens of released Palestinian prisoners in the Gilad Shalit prisoner exchange have resumed terrorist activity. Similarly, a recent investigative report in Ha’aretz reveals that many who run terror cells in Judea, Samaria and Gaza are former prisoners.
Slamming the celebrations in Ramallah, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu asserted:
“Murderers are not heroes. This is not how you educate people to peace. This is not how you make peace. Peace can exist only when the education to incitement and to destruction of Israel is stopped.”
Renanah Goldhar-Gemeiner, a Canadian pro-Israel activist, also reacted in pain. She circulated a public letter against the release of terrorists, saying, “My heart is shattered and weeping along with the families who have lost their loved ones.”
Prior to the Holocaust, Jews were put in ghettos and were defenseless, she said, adding:
“Tell me, what is different now? The world leaders force us to give up parts of the tiny land which is ours biblically, historically and legally, removing our ability for self-defense and handing our land to a murderous group whose goal is our annihilation.”
Meanwhile, following recent revelations by former National Security Agency employee Edward Snowden that in 2009, the NSA had been spying on Israeli leaders, Israeli lawmakers across the political spectrum are demanding the release of American-Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard, who is serving a lifetime sentence.
According to an Israel National News report, a Bar-Ilan University student union is leading a protest scheduled for Wednesday, calling for Pollard’s freedom, where Kerry will be staying while conducting Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.
A statement issued by the student union pointed to the seeming injustice, saying:
“The more than 28 years Pollard has served is far more than anyone recently arrested for spying against the US, including those whose espionage has resulted in the deaths of Americans.”
Author: Atara Beck, Staff Writer for United with Israel
Date: Dec. 31, 2013