June 20, 2013
Sholom Ber Crombie in #884, Shleimus HaAretz

In an exclusive interview with “Beis Moshiach,” Lt. Col. Meir Indor, chairman of the Almagor Terror Victims Association, speaks about the Netanyahu government’s plans to release more terrorists with Jewish blood on their hands: “The government of Israel is losing its moral right to demand that the world fight against terror when it releases terrorists on its own.”

Translated by Michoel Leib Dobry

Last week, the Israeli media publicized a shocking news item, which incredibly failed to arouse more than a whimper of public outcry. According to the media reports, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and his minister of justice, Tzippi Livni, are planning to free more terrorists. This time, it’s not because of an IDF soldier being held hostage, rather a public relations gesture to the Palestinian Authority. This scheme is being advanced by the justice minister, who has already submitted a request for their release.

The reports state that this will even include terrorists with blood on their hands, terrorists who murdered Jews long before the Oslo Accords. This step is apparently being taken as part of a concerted effort to jumpstart the “peace process,” giving the PLO leadership a justifiable reason to return to the negotiating table.

Constantly working behind the scenes in opposition to these various diplomatic initiatives on releasing terrorists is Lt. Col. Meir Indor, chairman of the Almagor Terror Victims Association. In recent months, according to Col. Indor, the Palestinian Authority has conducted a massive campaign, organizing international pressure upon the government of Israel to free more terrorists. The process would begin with the release of so-called “veteran terrorists,” i.e., terrorists imprisoned for attacks prior to the Oslo Accords.

Why is the government bending to these dictates and considering a release of more terrorists?

The Palestinian statement is quite clear. It declares above all that if the government of Israel wants to return to the negotiating table, it first must carry out two additional steps: a renewed settlement freeze and another release of jailed terrorists. This statement is backed by Israeli officials, who claim that after the Shalit deal had strengthened Hamas, there is now a need to strengthen those they believe to be the true diplomatic partners – Abu Mazen and his gang. This is a process that has been in the works for several months, and the new proposal for releasing terrorists is merely the first stage.

As a result of an inquiry we recently conducted, we revealed various documents, including a list of the 120 terrorists whose files are currently being reviewed by Justice Minister Livni. All of them are murderers with Jewish blood on their hands, not a bunch of old men. For our part, we are now disclosing the full list, and we will post it on our website to make it available for all to see. These aren’t terrorists who merely tried to carry out attacks; they actually murdered Jews. Even the late Yitzchak Rabin refused to include them in the list of prisoners he released as prime minister as part of the Oslo Accords, due to the severity of their crimes. While the Oslo Accords contained an entire section about a goodwill gesture of releasing terrorists, Rabin refrained from letting them go. Now they claim that they’re advanced in age – from the pre-Oslo era. However, we’ve already seen how dead terrorists can be restored to life, after their release from prison and their return to terrorist activities. The senior-most of these terrorists in jail has been there for fifteen to twenty years. These are killers, not senior citizens.

Rabin was worried about making another terrorist release after the massive release following the Jibril Agreement. He also knew that the feelings of the bereaved families of terror victims must be taken into consideration. Therefore, he decided not to free these murderers. Now, the concern is that Livni will press for their release.

Regrettably, we have just seen how an aura of contempt has developed regarding the need to give terrorists stiff prison sentences, particularly since the Gilad Shalit deal. It has left many families of terror victims with the feeling that the murderers will go unpunished. Now, we hear about the Palestinian Authority pressuring the government of Israel to release (another) 120 murderers, including the perpetrators of the “Night of the Pitchforks” terrorist attack that killed three IDF soldiers in 1992. One hundred members of the Jordanian Parliament issued a letter requesting that any proposed terrorist release should include the Jordanian soldier who massacred seven high school girls from Beit Shemesh in 1997. Even terrorists who had returned to their earlier violent practices and were re-arrested, after their release in the Gilat Shalit prisoner swap, were set free again due to pressure tactics by the Palestinians and also by certain Israeli authorities.

Are you concerned that the released terrorists will return to their previous activities?

There’s an existing phenomenon in the world of crime, and it exists in terrorism as well: Arabs infected with the terrorist bug go back to their former activities as soon as they are released. At the time of the Oslo Accords, there were terrorists freed from prison who had merely attempted to commit murder. However, after their release, they succeeded in actually carrying out terrorist attacks and murdering innocent Jews.

There’s a certain pool of Islamic extremists who engage in violent activities, and when they are incarcerated, it strikes a mortal blow to terrorism. These murderers are not a “bottomless pit,” as some would have you believe. There is no endless reservoir of terrorists; that’s simply a fable. Just as a tank brigade is limited, and when you run out of tanks, the threat disappears, similarly, when you weaken the terrorists, their ability to harm others begins to evaporate.

Up until the Shalit deal, most of the terrorists were behind bars, and terrorism was at a very low level. As soon as they were released, a wave of terror activities commenced. This has led to the current situation, similar to the second intifada, which came as a result of the Jibril Agreement.

During the past two years, terrorists have been set free who Rabin never would have agreed to spring. They had been released under the pressure of those working on behalf of the family of hostage soldier Gilad Shalit. However, there are still many others remaining in jail, and the Palestinian Authority now comes along and says, “Give us our pound of flesh.”

The political left claims that we must release terrorists now as a means of reinforcing the Palestinian Authority, after Hamas become stronger following the Gilad Shalit prisoner swap.

What we have here are two groups styled after the Mafia and its tactics. One group professes that it will bring greater quiet to the region if we release the terrorists. Nevertheless, they are criminals all the same. I also look at things from a long-term perspective, including upon the wheels of justice. In this light, the group that seemingly champions the cause of peace and tranquility has already proven its propensity for terrorism. I’m referring to the violence of the second intifada from nearly thirteen years ago, initiated not by Hamas, but by the Palestinian Authority – including the Palestinian security forces. In other words, the fact that there are efforts at this time to create friendlier and more cordial relations between the two sides is something very temporary.

Then, there’s the matter of ethics and justice. There are Jewish families sitting and waiting for the return of their sons, brothers, and husbands – among the ultra-nationalist prisoners convicted for their activities against Arabs. When a call went out for their immediate freedom in connection with the deal to free Gilad Shalit, the Israel Ministry of Justice claimed that the release of the Hamas terrorists was mandated by necessity. However, you just can’t pile one wrong upon another, grabbing the proverbial rope from both ends. It is impossible to come now and say that since we released Hamas terrorists to complete the deal to free Gilad Shalit, we now have to release the terrorists of the Palestinian Authority.

These murderers should receive punishment according to the fullest extent of the law. The victims’ families are entitled to see justice rendered on behalf of their loved ones. According to the letter of the law, these terrorists should be sentenced to death. However, since the government of Israel does not follow this approach, despite the fact that this would be in line with Israeli law, the least we should expect is for these murderers to remain imprisoned for the maximum amount of time prescribed by the criminal justice system.

Do you think that the atmosphere surrounding the Shalit deal created this situation?

The release of terrorists stemming from the Shalit deal is one of the primary causes of the escalating violence throughout Yehuda and Shomron. After a lengthy period of relative quiet, stemming in large measure from the fact that most terrorists were in prison, the region is again in a state of unrest. Those released in the Shalit deal are the ones who are now inciting the Arabs to commit acts of terror, thereby endangering the lives of Yesha residents.

Israeli leaders cannot detach themselves from their responsibility to the new situation. With its shameful decision to release more than a thousand terrorists, including dangerous murderers and senior terrorist chieftains, the government of Israel has opened the door to more terrorist attacks. Therefore, we must shut that door now.

Do you think that Tzippi Livni has any qualms about releasing these terrorists?

While the justice minister has described this issue as very complex and most difficult, it would seem that such statements were meant primarily for the media to prove that she will make her decision only after much careful and thoughtful consideration. In the final analysis, however, she’ll advance the process without paying serious attention to the security consequences. Only recently, the president of Israel, Mr. Shimon Peres, gave a media interview in which he explained that he supports the proposal terrorist release. In effect, this means that his signature on any amnesty order is a foregone conclusion, provided that the matter is brought before him in accordance with the law of the land.

Where are you concentrating your activities at this time?

We have contacted the office of Mr. Peres and Ms. Livni, requesting that they grant us a meeting, together with the families of terror victims. During this meeting, we wish to present our position on the issue and explain what a grave mistake this proposal really is.

In addition, we are calling upon the government of Israel to make a re-evaluation of its relations with the Palestinian Authority. For nearly twenty years, the successor to the PLO has systematically violated all of its agreements with the Jewish state, including the recent attempt to acquire United Nations recognition of its independent state and the recent upsurge in the throwing of rocks and Molotov cocktails on Israelis throughout Yerushalayim, Yehuda and Shomron.

What can we do now to prevent a further deterioration of our national security, certain to come with another wave of terrorist releases?

Terror victims are demanding that the conclusions of the Shamgar Commission on the issue of captive soldiers be made public immediately. They want the passage of legislation forbidding the release of more than one terrorist in exchange for one Israeli. Such legislation will limit the number of murderers to be freed in future prisoner swaps. Furthermore, it would send a firm message to the dozens of terror cells now planning their next kidnapping of an Israeli soldier or citizen for the purpose of freeing more of their brethren from Israeli prisons.

But more than that, it will make it clear to those who wish to shake Israeli deterrence that we will not yield to pressure tactics. We demand that the government of Israel convey an unequivocal message to the Palestinians that peace will not be achieved through releasing murderers or glorifying them as “shahids” in official public ceremonies. In addition, we demand that the government take action in accordance with international agreements, putting a swift end to the preferential treatment enjoyed by jailed terrorists.

The persistent silence of the Netanyahu government on these issues requires an immediate change in national policy. Terrorist organizations and their supporters interpret this silence as an expression of acquiescence, if not total capitulation. We have often heard the promise that “our long arm will apprehend these criminals.” However, in order to prevent future terrorist attacks, we demand that this promise receive renewed power and authority. A guarantee from the prime minister that he will put an end to terrorist releases would send a proper message to the bereaved families that the blood of their lost loved ones is not cheap.

A few words in conclusion:

We must know that there is no alternative to national strength and a firm position on our rightful claim to Eretz Yisroel. Without this moral right, we will be unable to prevent future terrorist attacks.


Article originally appeared on Beis Moshiach Magazine (http://beismoshiachmagazine.org/).
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