What in the world was our government thinking when they agreed to release the murderers of Israeli innocents: the bombers and throat slitters and back stabbers and casual assassins?

In the rest of what is referred to as Western Civilization, those convicted of murder are rarely released, and if so, usually under strict parole supervision designed to both help them to successfully integrate into society and to protect society from a possible repeat of the parolee’s violent past. It’s not an action lightly taken and has resulted in more than one incident of the murderer’s killing again, one well known example being the case of Jack Abbott in 1981. In the context of the current situation in Israel however, the concept of supervised parole is not possible.

So why would the State of Israel agree to a release of convicted killers as a so called ‘good will gesture?’

Of course there was pressure from John Kerry and the US State Department who naively seem to believe (still) that giving up something for nothing will somehow get a positive result. Mr. Kerry seems unwilling to accept the fact that giving up something for nothing (see Syria, see Iran) usually gets nothing in return.

But Mahmoud Abbas knows very well what the prisoner release means. Arabs are known as tough and skillful negotiators. So are Jews. But perhaps our reputation comes more from the diamond industry and the Garment Center and our skills are not as well suited to the cut-throat arena of war and international diplomacy

Releasing a known killer of innocents, one who claims to be killing as an act of ‘protesting the oppression’ is implicitly saying that the killings were indeed justifiable. Why else would the prisoner be released? And why then would anyone be surprised when the returning prisoners are greeted as heroes and freedom fighters? And returning to the fray would be a natural act for the committed freedom fighter, wouldn’t it?

Ergo, exactly how do decisions like this move the ‘peace process’ forward?

PM Netanyahu has done the right thing in refusing to release the last batch of prisoners. On the other hand, basing the release on merely extending negotiations is not enough. Without any noticeable progress on an agreement after three previous releases, there seems to be no logical reason for a further release without a more meaningful quid pro quo to show more sincerity on the other side.

Maybe it’s naïve to expect Palestinians to explicitly and publicly recognize Israel as a Jewish State but despite any wounded Arab sensibilities among their rejectionist despots, it would move things forward. Of course it may set Mr. Abbas up for an assassin’s bullet, but if peace is to be determined by rejectionist hit men or Shiite fatwas, then perhaps we need a different partner.

And now there’s rumor of an additional four hundred prisoner discharges?

Let’s hope it’s only a rumor.