Photo-op maybe, peace, not a chance, Re: Would Americans Release Terrorist Killers? Commentary Magazine, July 28, 2013

Palestinians have demanded that Israel release terrorists held in Israeli prisons who murdered and maimed Israeli civilians in terrorist attacks down through the years before they would deign to sit down with her and re-open peace “talks” in Washington.

That’s Israeli civilians, Israeli babies, children, women and old people.

The demand was backed by the Obama administration and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry pushed very hard to get the Israelis to agree to it, even though it was clearly very painful for them and even though they clearly didn’t want to do it, for several reasons.

Israel knows from bitter experience that such releases are futile and have about as much chance of leading to peace with the Palestinians as the American economy has of recovering before Obama leaves office, that is to say none. Israel also knows that the released terrorists will be welcomed back as heroes, that they will be glorified, that their actions will be celebrated and that many of them will go on to murder and maim again. Israel also rightly believes that such releases cheapen and devalue the lives of Israelis who were murdered and maimed in terrorist attacks, that they in effect sanction and legitimize the shedding of Israeli blood in terrorist attacks and that they project weakness and encourage more terrorist attacks on civilians in the future.

The decision by the Obama administration to back the demand and push hard to get the Israelis to agree to it was stupid, shortsighted, immoral, hypocritical and unconscionable.

It was stupid because Obama and his administration should know that the Palestinians are no more interested in peace with Israel than I am in flying to the moon and that while the prisoner release may play a part in bringing them to Washington that is as far as it will go because peace is simply not part of their agenda and never has been. It might lead to a nice photo-op or two which would of course be politically expedient for Obama but no more than that.

It was shortsighted because Obama and his administration should know that the prisoner release will encourage and enable more terrorist attacks by Palestinians on Israeli civilians and that it will make both the possibility of peace and peace itself even more remote than they already are.

It was immoral because it told the Palestinians that is o.k. to carry out terrorist attacks on Israeli civilians, that it is o.k. to murder and maim Israeli civilians, that blowing up buses or setting off car bombs or blowing up restaurants or placing backpacks full of explosives in crowded areas is acceptable and just fine and that there won’t be any long term consequences for such barbaric behaviour. It also inadvertently makes any condemnation of such attacks on American civilians sound hollow because if they’re o.k. in Israel they’re o.k. in America too. What’s acceptable for Israelis is acceptable for Americans as well, isn’t it?

It was hypocritical because no American government would agree to release terrorists who were incarcerated for carrying out terrorist attacks on Americans, for murdering and maiming American civilians. Would Americans release the 9/11 terrorists for example or other terrorists who murdered and maimed American civilians? Not a chance. Would Americans ever do what they are asking Israelis to do? No, they wouldn’t.

It was unconscionable for all of the above reasons.

We know why Palestinians made the demand and why Obama and his administration backed it and pushed so hard for it.

Why did the Israelis agree to it though?

Maybe Obama and his administration made them an offer they couldn’t refuse, as the saying goes.

Or maybe they outsmarted Obama, his administration and the Palestinians.

Maybe they think that the Palestinians will show yet again that they have no interest whatsoever in peace, that these “talks” will collapse because the Palestinians aren’t willing or able to negotiate about anything least of all peace, that the Americans will wind up with egg on their face, that they will be absolved because they showed yet again that they are willing and able to make painful concessions to bring peace and that in the end they won’t have to release anyone because the Palestinians either won’t show up for the “talks” in the first place or will walk away as they have so many times in the past.

In any case, Americans should be utterly ashamed of Obama and his administration for backing the prisoner release and pushing so hard for it. It does more than just send a terrible message to terrorists everywhere. It sanctions and legitimizes murdering and maiming civilians…it says that the United States of America views murdering and maiming civilians as a useful tool, as an acceptable means to an end.

As long as the civilians aren’t American of course.

If that isn’t enough to make Americans ashamed of Obama and his administration I don’t know what would be.

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