When Fantasies Become Policies
by MARK SILVERBERG
August 7, 2013
On July 28th8, Israel's Ministry of Justice disclosed the names of Palestinian terrorists who will be released over the next nine months as the price Washington is demanding from the Israelis to entice the Palestinian Authority to rejoin the talks they've been boycotting for the past four and a half years. Failure to have done so would have resulted in a serious diplomatic crisis between Israel and the U.S. Nevertheless, Israeli opposition to the release and especially to U.S. pressure on Israel to force that release is growing.
According to Israel Hayom, Times of Israel and Ynet News, among the 104 Palestinian terrorists scheduled to be released are Issa Abed Rabo, convicted of the murder of Revital Seri and Ron Levy near the Cremisan Valley in October 1984; Mohamed Dawd from Kalkilya who threw a Molotov cocktail at a car in 1987 killing Ofra and Tal Moses; Jumaa Adem and Mahmoud Kharbish who hurled a firebomb at a bus in the Jordan Valley in 1988 in an attack that left five dead including Rachel Weiss and her three children and a soldier David Dolorosa who tried to save the four; Jamal Muhsan from Jenin stabbed Shlomo Yehia, 76, in Kadima in 1991; Mahmoud Moamed who murdered Israel Prize Laureate Menahem Stern in the Valley of the Cross in 1989 and Mahmoud Issa who led the terror cell that kidnapped and murdered Border Guard officer Nissim Toledano in June 1993.
Israeli Arab citizens who are to be part of the prisoner release include Agbariya Hassan Mohammed, Agbariya Mustafa Mohammed Yehieh, Jabarin Mohammed Tawfik Suliman Yosef and Agbariya Hassan Mahmoud Ibrahim - members of Palestinian Islamic Jihad, who infiltrated an army base in 1992, murdering three soldiers; Fatah members Younis Abdel Latif Abdel Kader Maher and Younis Younis Fadel Fadel Karim who kidnapped Israeli soldier Avraham Bromberg and murdered him; Al-Khatib Abdallah Kaid Bashir, a member of Fatah Force 17 who murdered Israeli civilian Chaim Hai Haktouk; Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) members Abu Moch Ibrahim, Biadsa Abdel Razak Ahmed Ibrahim, Dakah Nimer Assad Walid and Abu Moch Hamdoun Mohammed Rushdi who kidnapped and executed Israeli soldier Moshe Tamam; Daagna Nofel Mohammed Mahmoud of the PFLP who initiated and planned the murder of Israeli civilian Sarah Sharon, and Hamas member Baroud Ahmed Mohamed Fares who stabbed an Israeli civilian to death.
There is no doubt that the pending release of Palestinian terrorists with Israeli blood on their hands constitutes a capitulation to American pressure. Netanyahu claims to have had little choice given the strategic and security-related considerations presented to him - the most important of which, according to rumor, seem related to U.S. undertakings to support an Israeli air strike against Iran's nuclear reactors - a promise of questionable value given that the Obama administration continues to pass on Iran's nuclear "red lines" and sees Iran's new President, Hasan Rouhani as a "moderate"- the same man who two days before he officially took office described Israel as a "wound on the body of the Islamic world that must be removed".
But realistically, how can anyone compel the release of convicted terrorists in return for the start of negotiations that are certain to fail? Is Secretary of State Kerry so fanatically committed to the "peace process" that he is oblivious to the Middle East realities unfolding before his eyes?
What is being done to restore Israeli confidence that has been trampled both by the Second Intifada and by thousands of missiles that fell on Israel after it withdrew from Gaza in 2005?
What is being done to stop Palestinians incitement to hatred and martyrdom emanating from their mosques, their media and their educational system?
What is being done to counter Palestinian efforts to demonize and delegitimize Israel at the UN and in international courts, their naming of kindergartens, schools, summer camps, streets, squares, community centers and sporting events after terrorists, their using maps of Israel's internationally recognized borders, plus Gaza and the West Bank - all emblazoned with the Arabic letters for "Palestine", their murderous violence directed towards religious minorities - especially Christians, their desecration of Jewish holy sites like the Cave of the Patriarchs, and their continuing anti-Israel and anti-Semitic programs, songs and "music videos" as documented by Palestine Media Watch and the Middle East Media Research Institute?
Why must Israel (the only true democracy in the Middle East) place itself in peril for U.S. fantasies that have no chance of success?
Would America ever do what it is forcing Israel to do? Would the U.S. ever think of releasing any of those convicted and currently serving long jail sentences for involvement in the 9/11 attacks or any other terrorist assault on the United States and its citizens? How can we, as Americans, morally justify demanding that Israel do what we ourselves would never do?
So what exactly does the U.S. administration hope to achieve in return for forcing this release?
After all, the maximum Netanyahu can offer is far less than Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas will accept. The U.S. administration is more than aware that Palestinian parades in Judea, Samaria and Gaza will be held in honor of these murderers, flowers will be thrown at the bus carrying them home, poems will be written about their "glorious" exploits, horns will honk, cars will trail streamers behind them, and a "national day of celebration" will be held. Given all this, it should be abundantly clear to the U.S. that the Palestinians cannot be trusted if they revere terrorists as heroes because they have murdered Israelis. Peace is not possible with a society that sanctifies death and that fact alone symbolizes the unbridgeable gap that separates Israel from its enemies.
The U.S. cannot seem to understand that Abbas has no intention of preparing his people for peace with Israel and nothing that happens in Washington can or will change that. As Walter Russell Mead wrote recently in American Interest: "Signing a deal with the PA will not stop rockets coming from Gaza, will not stop Palestinian exiles from continuing a campaign of de-legitimization against Israel, will not stop foreign powers like Iran supporting rejectionist factions of the Palestinians with weapons, money and diplomatic cover, and will not end Hezbollah's terror campaign against Israelis and Jews worldwide. Given all that, it is hard for many Israelis to see enough benefit to justify serious territorial concessions for a Potemkin peace."
The idea of releasing prisoners in the hope that the Palestinians will be more merciful in their propaganda attacks will only result in an increase in those attacks. For over twenty years, Israeli governments have been freeing prisoners, providing jobs and allowing the flow of goods and donations as goodwill gestures and confidence-building efforts, with an organization that, to this day, has not bothered, even for the sake of keeping up appearances, to change its Charter that does not recognize Israel's right to exist. There is no Palestinian leader today who would be willing to sign a peace deal with Israel unless it includes Jerusalem and guarantees a complete right of return of millions of Palestinian "refugees" to Israel proper, something which no Israeli government would ever accept.
Moreover, the Palestinians have not declared any willingness to recognize Israel's right to exist as a Jewish state nor are they prepared to recognize the legitimacy of any such state - no matter where its borders are drawn. With PA leader Mahmoud Abbas sitting right next to him as he spoke recently, the PA's Religious Affairs Minister Mahmoud el-Habash compared the decision of the PA leadership to negotiate with Israel to the agreement of the Prophet Muhammad on a 10-year truce with his Jewish rivals in the Quraish tribe of Mecca, known as the Treaty of Hudaibiya, reached in the year 628 CE. The significance of the Treaty is that Mohammad reneged on the promise and used the respite to build up his forces and conquer the Quraish.
Habash's sermon mirrored the incendiary historical comparison made by deceased PA President Yasser Arafat in a Johannesburg speech he delivered on May 10th, 1994 when he compared the Oslo Accords to Hudaibiya.
Fast forward to 2010 when a poll sponsored by The Israeli Project found most Palestinians refuse to accept the idea of Israel as a Jewish state and while some accept the concept of two states, they regard it as a first step toward one state ruled by Palestinians.
That is, there is absolutely no basis for the belief that yielding the territory regained by Israel in the Six-Day War will pacify her Arab neighbors. The Palestinians do not want peace with Israel. They have never wanted peace with Israel, and there will be no peace with Israel despite the charade in Washington, because they will accept nothing less than the complete annihilation of Israel and the removal of every Jew from what they regard as their land, notwithstanding any agreement signed. The Palestinian definition of ending the conflict is simple: They win.
Nevertheless, knowing in advance that this will be a costly lesson in futility, Netanyahu agreed to negotiate with the PA because Israel remains a besieged country and dependent on American support. As a result, Israel will be told to make further concessions while getting nothing in return from the Palestinians except more hollow promises, another worthless agreement, more terror, and new threats of war.
The U.S. would never place itself in such peril, although it do not seem to have any qualms in forcing Israel to do so as a means of promoting its so-called "peace process". Instead of applauding Kerry's success in forcing Netanyahu to take this step, this administration should be ashamed given that this release is being forced upon Israel by an American ally to further a process that even PA officials admit is nothing more than a ruse rather than a genuine pursuit of peace.
That makes it doubly disgraceful, and suggests that the true motive behind this latest U.S. "peace effort" is to shore up this administration's failed policies in Egypt, Syria, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Lebanon, Tunisia and Yemen ............... at Israel's expense.
The Palestinians now know that they need not kidnap Israeli soldiers to obtain the release of future Palestinian terrorists by the "Zionist entity". The U.S. will do it for them. What the Israelis should tell Kerry and the Palestinians is that there will be no release until there is an agreement satisfactory to Israel - an agreement that includes an IDF presence in any future Palestinian state (however territorially defined) to insure that it is truly demilitarized, an end to Palestinian anti-Israel and anti-Semitic incitement (the details of which are set out above), and unequivocal and universal Arab recognition of Israel's right to exist as a Jewish state.
But don't wait for it. It's not going to happen any time soon.
Mark Silverberg is a foreign policy analyst for the Ariel Center for Policy Research (Israel). He is a former member of the Canadian Justice Department, a past Director of the Canadian Jewish Congress (Western Office) based in Vancouver, a member of Hadassah's National Academic Advisory Board and a Contributing Editor for Family Security Matters, Intellectual Conservative and Israel National News (Arutz Sheva). He also served as a Consultant to the Secretary General of the Jewish Agency in Jerusalem during the first Palestinian intifada. His book "The Quartermasters of Terror: Saudi Arabia and the Global Islamic Jihad" and his articles have been archived under www. marksilverberg .com.