Sunday, February 06, 2005

Israel Considering Releasing Murderers - What has happened to the Jewish state?

I can understand Palestinians making absurd demands; this is all they do. But why the hell is Israel considering caving to them? Is Israel so starved for peace that she will throw all caution to the wind for a pipe-dream? Have Abbas' cosmetic and quickly reversible moves impressed Israelis that much? Has Israel decided that a few mortars every day or so is an acceptable level of violence? What have the Palestinians done in the past month that make them so respectable after four years of non-stop murdering?

And Israel is now treating the Jews who arguably love the Land of Israel more than anyone else as the enemy, while Holocaust-deniers are friends. There is a growing divide between Israel and Jews - it is still small enough that is can be papered over in the diaspora but everything is pointing to Israel going away from its founding principles and towards becoming just another secular state that relies on others for her security. To say that this is scary is an understatement.

The sensitive issue of releasing Arab terrorists will be decided by a joint committee. PA terrorist organizations warn that a compromise on the issue will result in a renewal of attacks on Israel.

The committee is to convene after the summit in Sharm a-Sheikh on Tuesday.

Israel has informed the PA that it would agree to release 500 terrorist prisoners as soon as an agreement is reached, and 400 more three months from now. The Palestinian Authority continues to demand that Hamas and Islamic Jihad terrorists, and even murderers, be included in these numbers. PA negotiators say that no ceasefire can be implemented until Israel agrees to this condition.

However, it all depends on President Moshe Katzav. No prisoners can be released before completing their sentence without a presidential pardon – and Katzav informed Prime Minister Sharon on Friday that he opposes giving it to terrorists who murdered Israelis. He says, though, that he will address each case on its own merits.

Opinions within the security cabinet on the release of terrorist murderers differ widely. Labor's Chaim Ramon is in favor, and Shimon Peres feels that Israel's long-standing position against the release is "outdated." Defense Minister Sha'ul Mofaz and IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Moshe Yaalon lean towards favoring the release, while Finance Minister Binyamin Netanyahu objects to the release of murderers. Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom says that the release of any Hamas prisoners at all will "damage our explanatory efforts abroad" to have Hamas outlawed as a terrorist organization. Prime Minister Sharon is said to favor the release of terrorists with blood on their hands, but only at a later date; at present, he sides with GSS head Avi Dichter's position against releasing murderers.