The tidbit below was written by Yasser Okbi and the Jerusalem Post Staff.
Palestinian Authority Prisoner Affairs Minister Issa Karaka said Monday that there would be an official welcoming ceremony for 26 Palestinian security prisoners being released from Israeli jails at the Presidential Palace in Ramallah on Tuesday at midnight.
PA President Mahmoud Abbas was set to be on hand at the ceremony to greet the prisoners, released as part of ongoing Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.
A Ministerial Committee on Sunday approved the release of 26 prisoners imprisoned for murder or attempted murder prior to the signing of the Oslo Accords in 1993. A first batch of 26 prisoners was released in July.
“The second phase of the prisoner release is a great achievment for the Palestinian leadership, for Abu Mazen [Abbas] and for the Palestinian people because it represents an extra step toward the release of all the prisoners from the Israeli occupation’s jails,” Karaka stated.
They were imprisoned for the murder or the attempted murder of Jews. There is a deep irony and symbolism in the fact that someone like Simon Wiesenthal could spend his life hunting Nazis so that they might be held accountable for the murder of Jews and now Israel is in the business of freeing the murderers of Jews.
And why is the Jewish State freeing the murderers of Jews? In order to gain the privilege of sitting down for negotiations with a corrupt terrorist leader, with ideological ties to both Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union, who thinks that any future state of Palestine must be Judenrein, and does so at the insistence of an American president that supported the rise of political Islam throughout the Middle East.
So, what I say is, pack it in, guys.
There are some allegedly pro-Israel people – like, say, David Harris-Gershon - who think that the best way to support the Jews of the Middle East is to kick them in the teeth every chance they get. Why shouldn’t allegedly pro-Israel BDS people (the heinous Peter Beinart and J-Street crowd) think that the best way to help Israel is to hurt Israel, when the Israelis, themselves, give them considerable support?
Then, of course, there are the pro-Israel people, such as Jonathan Segall, who think that the real problem is not ongoing Arab-Muslim genocidal hostility toward Jews, but the fact that some Jews prefer to live in Judaea and Samaria. This bigotry toward Jewish people somehow doesn’t register as bigotry among progressives who do little more than scream about bigotry and racism and Islamophobia on a daily basis as a club against their political opponents. The progressive-left is perfectly OK with rank discrimination against the Jewish people even as they self-righteously decry it everywhere else.
And then there are the Jews who are simply done with peace processing because they recognize that such efforts are not only worthless, but entirely counterproductive to the well-being of the Jewish people. Many of these folks call for the annexation of the entirety of the Jewish homeland, which is to say, the annexation of Judaea and Samaria, or what progressive-left Jews call the “West Bank” despite the fact that this term wipes out more than 3,500 years of Jewish history on Jewish land.
What I say is that if the Israeli government is so weak that it would yield to outside pressure from Mahmoud Abbas and Barack Obama to release the murderers of Jews then the Zionist project is essentially over. The point of Zionism was never merely just the protection of the Jewish people. It also redeemed the Jewish language and opened venues for Jewish literature and Jewish art and Jewish culture, more generally. It gave a place for Jewish scientists to explore their studies and for regular Jews to gain an appreciation for their heritage and history. It gave a place for deeply religious Jews to practice their faith among their own people and upon their own land.
The movement for Jewish Liberation, which is the Zionist movement, is a movement for the redemption of a people that is among the most persecuted people within recorded history. Along with Native-Americans, who were likewise subject to a genocide, and the slaves from Africa, who were subject to European and Arab-Muslim subjugation, the Jews of the Middle East were subject to dhimmitude in which their numbers were kept artificially small and their people subject to daily humiliations, violence, and servitude.
Among the various purposes of Israel, one of the foremost was to undermine anti-Semitism by normalizing Jewish people-hood through the establishment of a Jewish state. Theodor Herzl and the early Zionists thought that the establishment of a Jewish state would ease relationships with the rest of the world because no longer would Jews be a stranger in someone else’s home. This has turned out not to be the case because in the twentieth-century anti-Semitism simply morphed into anti-Zionism and generalized hatred for Israel, even among many Jews, such as Harris-Gershon.
But now we have the Jewish state, itself, freeing the murderers of Jews.
What I fail to understand is that if Israel will not really stand up for itself, why anyone else would possibly stand up for it? The releasing of the murderers of Jews is a deeply symbolic act that is certainly not lost on the Palestinian-Arabs, even if it is lost on the Netanyahu government. When Israel behaves in a manner that goes directly against the well-being of Jews throughout the world, as this prisoner release does, it gives great pause to pro-Israel diaspora Jewry because it makes us wonder just what Israel actually stands for?
The question is this: how can Israel stand for the well-being of the Jewish people when it releases the murderers of Jewish people?
I wish I had a reasonable answer, but I don’t.
Michael Lumish is the editor of Israel Thrives.