Binyamin Netanyahu’s election platform rests squarely on his purported toughness towards terrorists. How odd, because Netanyahu’s behavior has been quite the contrary.
During the past year and a half, he has bolstered our terrorist neighbors time and again. Hamas has learned that it can pressure Netanyahu into just about anything that takes their fancy.
Eighteen months ago, we saw Netanyahu begin his descent down the slippery slope of concessions with the lopsided “exchange” that returned Gilad Shalit. The man who had repeatedly insisted that he would never release terrorists ‘with blood on their hands’ released 1,027 terrorists, among them hundreds of convicted murderers. The Hamas victory rallies that day made for painful viewing, but Netanyhu’s reputation escaped unscathed.
Insult was added to injury when Netanyahu permitted one of those freed murderers, Nazir-al-Tamimi, to leave the West Bank in whose confines he had been explicitly restricted as a condition of his release. Al Tamimi crossed into Jordan to join his fiancée, the mass murderer Ahlam Tamimi who was the engineer of the Sbarro massacre. She too had been freed in the Shalit deal and “exiled” to her home and family in Jordan. The two were married shortly afterwards in yet another well-publicized Hamas extravaganza [see this link].
Tamimi murdered our daughter Malki along with 14 other men, women and children in 2001. While this violation of the terms of the Shalit deal was inconsequential to most of the public, we were personally outraged. But our voices and letters of protest failed to move Netanyahu to respond in any way.
It was becoming harder to discern our prime minister’s rejection of Hamas.
Then came 2012’s blizzard of Gazan missiles. Elections were approaching and Netanyahu grew shaky. Evidently he needed to attach in order to restore his popularity. Operation Pillar of Defense – surgical and superficial though it was – re-annointed him as the “etrog” of the right-wing electorate.
The concessions Netanyahu made to Hamas in order to achieve a cease fire were downplayed for the Israeli public.
As Jonathan Tobin wrote in “Did Hamas Win the Last War”, published by Commentary Magazine earlier this month:
“In the days following the dustup, it was clear that Gaza fishing craft were being allowed to sail further into the Mediterranean by the Israeli Navy, but this might have been dismissed as unimportant since the blockade of the region was still intact. However, the news that Israel is now allowing in construction materials that it had heretofore prevented from entering Gaza must be regarded as yet another indication that Hamas’s own claims of victory were not empty boasts. Though it may be argued that neither of these measures seriously degrades Israel’s security, they both make it clear that Israel paid a not insignificant price for he cease-fire…the looser naval blockade and the end of the ban on construction material gives the lie to the notion that Israel didn’t pay a ransom in order to get the Islamist terrorist group to stop shooting.”
A month later, Netanyahu authorized the Israel Prison Services to indulge yet another terrorist murderer. Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti was permitted to be interviewed by Zvi Yehezkeli, Arab Affairs reporter for Israel’s Channel 10 and Avi Issacharoff, Palestinian and Arab Affairs Correspondent for Haaretz. Barghouti had been allowed only one previous interview during his ten years in Israel’s Hadarim Prison. That was in advance of the last Palestinian elections when Israel hope his message would strengthen Fatah at the expense of Hamas.
This time, however, there appears to be not benefit to Israel. Enabling Barghouti to sound off – to the point of threatening a third intifada – only seems to presage Netanyahu’s intention to release him soon.
The interview [online here] spurred Issacharoff to sing Barghouti’s praises and reiterate the argument for his release: Barghouti’s popularity is so immense that only he can defeat Hamas in an election.
Besides, his supporters note, in the past Israel has made deals with terrorists who have “blood on their hands”.
The fact that those peace-partners were not imprisoned here when Israel negotiated with them is conveniently ignored by the “Free Barghouti” camp. Likewise, the fact that Barghouti was the chief instigator of the bloody Second Intifada and a convicted murderer of five Israeli civilians is only mentioned in passing.
What impresses Issacharoff is that Barghouti’s “sense of humor is the same as it was and most of all his wise view of Israeli and Palestinian politics remains… [moreover] after 10 years in prison he remains a big supporter of two nations for two peoples.”
Issacharoff is so keen to see the man released, he has dubbed Barghouti “the Next Palestinian President.”
Even if Barghouti could provide a cure for every cancer known to mankind, he deserves to remain incarcerated. It is Netanyahu alone whom we have to “thank” for the revived campaign to set Barghouti free.
Netanyahu has demoted the judiciary to irrelevance in the context of Palestinian terrorism while brainwashing the public into elevating terrorist murderers to special status.
Last week a glimpse of life in Israel’s security prisons was circulated on YouTube by Palestinian terrorists imprisoned in Israel. Thanks to our taxes and Netanyahu’s policies, some twenty of them are shown [link] celebrating the engagement of one of the group. The video clip shows them all looking fit, health, content and dressed in civilian clothes. Several tables are laden with sweet refreshments.
Media reports say that Palestinian authorities have ordered it removed because it depicts prison life here too favorably.
Presumably, the partying did not interfere with the university studies those prisoners are enjoying with this government’s blessings and at our expense. Israel’s High Court ruled last month that terrorist security prisoners were not eligible for free university education in Israeli schools. Israel National News noted [“Court: End of Free College for Terrorists“] that, notwithstanding that decision, the court advised the prison system to “be ‘considerate’ in deciding what to do with terrorists who are already in the midst of academic programs… adding that ‘If the prisons decide not to continue funding the education of those prisoners, they will be free to file petitions with district courts on the matter.’
Netanyahu’s actions speak louder than his campaign slogans. Your vote can halt this country’s slide toward total capitulation to our enemies. Help ensure that Netanyahu does not receive a fresh mandate to empower terrorists.
Frimet Roth‘s daughter Malki was murdered at the age of 15 in the Sbarro restaurant bombing (2001). She is a freelance writer in Jerusalem. With her husband Arnold, she founded the Malki Foundation (www.malkifoundation.org) that provides concrete support for Israeli families of all faiths who care at home for a special-needs child. The views expressed in this piece are personal and are not intended to reflect the views of the Malki Foundation or of any other organization or person.