When I looked over a list of the prisoners Israel is scheduled to release in the coming day in order to facilitate peace talks, I saw the name Isa Musa Isa Mahmud. The name meant nothing to me. But then I looked over to the column listing his victim and I saw the name, Nissim Toledano.

Nissim Toledano was a policeman. He was also a married father of two young children. One morning in December 1992, as he headed to work he was kidnapped by a gang of Hamas terrorists. In exchange for his release, the terrorists demanded the release of Sheikh Ahmed Yassin the leader of Hamas who had been jailed by Israel.

Two days later, Toledano’s bound and stabbed body was found. In response the Israeli Prime Minister immediately ordered the deportation of 415 identified leaders of Hamas into Lebanon. Syria, which controlled Lebanon, refused to repatriate the terrorists and they were stuck in a no man’s land between Israel and Lebanon.

The deported terrorists became an international sensation. They set up tents. The international media publicized their fate. The world condemned Israel. By the way, the Prime Minister involved, was not some right wing Likud fanatic, but the late Yitzchak Rabin.

The killing of Nissim Toledano gives a good snapshot of how Israel was treated before the peace process. After declaring that the PLO as no longer a terrorist organization, ceding much of the West Bank and all of Gaza to the Palestinians, withdrawing from southern Lebanon, transferring arms and money to the Palestinians and suffering hundreds of dead through numerous waves of terror, Israel is not treated much better now, twenty years later. No one remembers Israels very significant material contributions to the peace process. The international diplomats, journalists, NGO’s just acknowledge the eternal Palestinian grievances.

At the time, Israel and non-PLO Palestinians were engaged in talks. The deportations imperiled the talks. The Palestinian delegation would not continue talking in deference to the deportees. No one seemed much bothered that these Palestinians, who presumably were moderates were looking out for the welfare of Hamas, whose extremism we were told threatened them.

The New York Times in its infinite wisdom wrote in Don’t Orphan the Peace Process:

The Hamas killings were clearly meant to provoke the Israelis into reprisals that could jeopardize the peace talks. And Mr. Rabin’s mass deportation of Palestinians, though understandable in the face of outrage in Israel, will only inflame the confrontation.

A Baltimore Sun editorial at the time, Terrorists Take Charge lectured:

In other words, every regime acted with pompous deceit and played into Hamas’ hands. The PLO is Hamas’ chief target. It knows that Hamas is out-terrorism-ing it and is gaining adherents because of the PLO’s tentative new moderation. Israel’s government of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin knew that deporting Arabs who had not committed the murder would produce this effect, but hoped to silence hawkish Israelis who oppose giving away territory in peace talks.

But of course, Hamas gained adherents because of a culture that glorified violence and those who committed violence against Jews. The murder of Toledano was not done to endanger the peace talks but to kill Jews. Even then, Hamas was characterized as acting against the PLO and the interests of the Palestinians who really wanted peace. Even then Israel was condemned for taking actions in response to terror to protect its citizens.

Some people got it right. A. M. Rosenthal noted in As you sow:

Presidents and prime ministers talk solemnly about how many miles Israel must give up, which cannot bring peace. But they never ask that Arabs first give up Holy War, Holy Hate, Holy Embargo, Holy Laws against Unholy Jews, the weapons that have made peace impossible. Sometimes even Israelis wearily accept the unacceptable as unchangeable.

A Wall Street Journal article, Last Spring’s Darlings noted that the enthusiasm that had greeted the election of Yitzchak Rabin and the ouster of Yitzchak Shamir, was now gone:

Six months later, the left-wing government is no longer the darling of the West. Maybe the Middle East’s problems are deeper than a few stiff-necked old men.

Israel’s future ambassador to the United States, Michael Bornstein-Oren wrote Rabin acted for national survival:

Death was the sentence passed on Nissim Toledano, the Israeli policeman kidnaped last week by Hamas gunmen who brutally murdered him. Death might also have been fate of hundreds of civilians, targets of two car bombs recently found–fortunately in time–in Israeli neighborhoods. But not only Israelis have to face the prospect of Hamas terrorism. Hundreds of Palestinian residents of the West Bank and Gaza have been executed by Hamas. These assassinations, like that of Egyptian President Anwar Sadat in 1981, were perpetrated against any who defied Islamic law as defined by the fundamentalists; against any who sought peace with Israel. Thus, the Palestinian representatives to the peace talks in Washington are also prime targets for Hamas. Only days after discovering Toledano’s body, Israeli police foiled a plot by Islamic Jihad, parent organization of Hamas, to shoot Faisal Husseini, a chief adviser to the Palestinian delegation. Though Palestinian supporters of the negotiations have publicly condemned the deportation order, secretly they can only be relieved.

How much has really changed though?

The arrogant and ignorant Secretary of State was quoted last week saying that he’s worried about Israel’s future if there’s no peace.


Israel Hayom reported:

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has reportedly made several specific requests, asking for the release of Hamas operatives Mahmoud Isa and Majed Abu Kteish, who were convicted of the abduction and murder of Border policeman Sgt. Maj. Nissim Toledano in 1992; Jamil Hassan Mahmoud Abu Srour and Hassan Abd Hamid Nasser Abu Srour from Beit Jala, who together murdered Shin Bet agent Hayim Nahmani in 1993, one month after Israel deported hundreds of Hamas operatives to Lebanon; and Daoud Adal Hassan Mahmad, who was convicted of the 1987 murder of Ofra Moses and her son, Tal, in a Molotov cocktail attack on their car near the Alfei Menashe settlement in western Samaria.

Does John Kerry worry about the future of a Palestine that reveres such monsters? Does Kerry wonder why it is that peace seeking Mahmoud Abbas is so keen on freeing members of Hamas? Doesn’t Hamas threaten the moderates now as much as it did twenty years ago? Does Kerry realize that even as he pronounces the need for peace that one side in the talks over which he is currently presiding demonstrates that it does not value what any Westerner would call peace?

JoshuaPundit tells the stories of many of the killers and their victims.