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And then there were none (of the pre-Oslo Arab killers of Israelis left in prison)

And then there were none (of the pre-Oslo Arab killers of Israelis left in prison)

Another in my ongoing posts from Israel:

Today was a rest day, with the only real activity some time at the beach in front of our hotel in Tel Aviv.

The Mediterranean Sea was warm, and the waves and undertow strong.  It was great to ride the waves, but one man drowned just after we left the water.

(Tel Aviv beach in front of our hotel)

(Tel Aviv beach in front of our hotel)

In the evening I did my part to break the boycott of Aroma Café, of which we have written before.  (Remember, Buycott Israeli companies to defeat BDS.)

(Aroma Café, Tel Aviv Seaport)

(Aroma Café, Tel Aviv Seaport)

But the big news of the day was that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu released an Open Letter (read the whole thing) to the Israeli public signaling his intention to seek Cabinet Approval on Sunday to release all Palestinian and Israeli Arab prisoners convicted of security offenses prior to the 1993 Oslo Accords, thereby complying with a promise John Kerry had made to Mahmoud Abbas as a precondition to peace negotiations.

The Times of Israel reports:

Amid reports that Israel has reluctantly agreed to release all 100-plus Palestinian and Israeli Arab prisoners held since before the Oslo Accords were signed in 1993, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Saturday night issued an open letter to the public, bracing Israelis for an extremely “difficult decision” that he was taking in defiance of public opinion but “for the good of the country.”

Netanyahu reportedly agreed to release all 104 pre-Oslo prisoners, including 20 or more Israeli Arab citizens, because the Palestinians made clear to US Secretary of State John Kerry that otherwise they would not come to the scheduled resumption of peace talks in Washington on Tuesday.

Despite opposition, the proposal is expected to pass, according to The Times of Israel:

“You kill terrorists, you don’t free them,” Economy and Trade Minister Naftali Bennett said.

“Experience has taught us that every prisoner release encourages terror, and has never brought peace. It tell the next generation of terrorists that someone will work to release them. All the democracies in the world have learned this lesson. They don’t release terrorists even in exchange for captured citizens. They won’t even negotiate,” said Deputy Foreign Minister Ze’ev Elkin, reflecting the views of many other Likud MKs, including Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon and coalition chairman Yariv Levin.

But none of that opposition has the power to reverse Netanyahu’s decision: A Times of Israel tally of the cabinet arithmetic shows the prime minister’s majority is all but assured.

This release comes on top of over 1000 prisoners, many who committed mass terrorist attacks, who were released in exchange for Israeli solder Gilad Shalit two years ago.

Here is the list of prisoners who likely will be released, via CAMERA:

Pre-Oslo Prisoner List

The Israeli public, once again, will have to witness the humiliation of terrorists and murderers being greeted as heroes in Palestinian towns and villages.

It’s hard to understand the capitulation on prisoner releases, but I did gain some insight during a discussion I had last week with a government official in a position to know the details and flow of the negotiations. While discussing the peace negotiations, the official mentioned that he had children serving or about to serve in the army, and that when the time came that they might be called upon to fight, he wanted to know that the government had done everything it could to find peace.

The comment struck me at the time, particularly when he showed me a photo. A high percentage of Jewish families in Israel have a family member in the active military or reserves. While there is no uniformity of approach and certainly people differ on prisoner releases (with the vast majority against), I do think it’s sometimes hard for Americans to understand how broadly the military situation affects Israeli society.

By releasing prisoners in stages, Israel will be able to say that it did everything it could to see if there really was a peace partner on the other side.

That test, which few expect to succeed, is important in several additional respects.  It buys Israel time from multiple sources of pressure, including the Obama administration which perversely still views the Israeli-Palestinian dispute as the source of all problems in the Middle East and implicitly blames Israel; from the Palestinians U.N. lawfare; and from EU boycott pressure.

Buying time on multiple diplomatic fronts is important because Israel has its eye on the ultimate existential threat, the Iranian nuke program.

There’s something else in Netanyahu’s letter which jumped out at me, a point I was going to save for my post-trip writing, but I’ll address now. Here’s the paragraph:

The best answer we can give to those same base murderers that sought to defeat us through terrorism is that in the decades that they sat in prison, we built a glorious country and turned it into one of the most prosperous, advanced and strongest countries in the world.

The Israel of 2013 is not the Israel of 1980 when I worked on a kibbutz in the Galilee, or the Israel of 1983, when my wife and I toured the country.

Israel has grown tremendously in terms of economy, population, technology, military, and self-confidence.

Israel built while the Arab haters of Jews hated; their hatred now is consuming their own societies as Israel continues to build.

The full series of posts from my trip to Israel:


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I’ve stayed at the Sheraton on Hayarkon–great beach and restaurant!

Doug Wright | July 27, 2013 at 6:49 pm

Professor, your one sentence says it all, in terms of that ever hoped for human feeling of longing for peace: “Israel built while the Arab haters of Jews hated; their hatred now is consuming their own societies as Israel continues to build.”

Still, that hope will not be realized while the enemies of Israel, those within and those without, do not reciprocate in kind. And, I doubt those enemies ever will.

Israel needs to stand strong and resolute against all that would harm her. That is her only hope. Unfortunately, Obama has turned America away from supporting Israel and Obama’s actions are both a travesty and denial of America and our own hopes.

Love the views..

Thoughts for the drowning victims family..

“You kill terrorists, you don’t free them,” Economy and Trade Minister Naftali Bennett said.

Hell Yes!

Does anyone know, if Mr. Heinz brought the ‘secret CIA hat’ that he had?

One can never say, when all is said and done, that Israel did not try in earnest to make peace with the Arabs.

Conversely, it is hard to find much the Arabs have done to “live at peace with their neighbours,” to borrow a phrase.

    Juba Doobai! in reply to oldschooltwentysix. | July 28, 2013 at 10:36 am

    Unfortunately, the Israel haters say so. They always say Israel did something while ignoring that Israel’s actions were reactive rather than proactive.

[…] Jacobson at Legal Insurrection has up a great post today on “And then there were none (of the pre-Oslo Arab killers of Israelis left in […]

southcentralpa | July 27, 2013 at 8:38 pm

As long as we’re talking (at least in passing) of Buycott, I have to plug SodaStream. I actually just make seltzer in the summer and it works really, really well!

Did I mention that it honks off all the right people … ?

Isn’t makin’ a deal with the likes of Kerry sort of suicidal?

Lurch doesn’t know much about anything…

Carol Herman | July 27, 2013 at 10:01 pm

I think it’s obvious that Kerry got the signal from Bibi. If Bibi didn’t want this, behind closed doors the topic would have died down.

I have my own opinion. I think secular Jews don’t like religious Jews. Brother against brother. As if laws didn’t start out trying to deal with these results.

How did Bibi do it? Easy. He’s working with Livni and Olmert. What I didn’t know was how the “inside of politics” worked. Until I saw the flare Bibi developed in “halping” Kerry reach this result.

I do not blame obama at all. He’s too weak. And, his administration too disorganized. And, yes. Bibi, just like the others before him (Golda, Begin, Shamir, Olmert, and Sharon) … but not in that order. Always lept at American presidents. Didn’t even matter which one.

    I think it’s obvious that Kerry got the signal from Bibi. If Bibi didn’t want this, behind closed doors the topic would have died down.

    I’m totally not a fan of Kerry, and I’m rapidly cooling on Bibi, but really, you have taken off on a mad flight of fancy here. I don’t think you realize how realpolitik works.

    I have my own opinion. I think secular Jews don’t like religious Jews. Brother against brother. As if laws didn’t start out trying to deal with these results.

    I’m not sure what laws you’re talking about. This doesn’t make any sense. This has zero to do with religion.

      Carol Herman in reply to anneinpt. | July 28, 2013 at 6:27 pm

      If you were in Israel. At the beach in Tel Aviv. You’d find the place where the Altalena went down. Menachem Begin was on board. And, his soldiers from the Urgun. From the shoreline, Yitzhak Rabin stood. And, Ben-Gurion gave him the order to SHOOT! The ship went down. And, with people on board jumping into the sea, Rabin kept ordering his men to shoot.

      It was Ben-Gurion’s philosophy that there would be only ONE armed camp. So Urgun lost. And, the Haganah won.

      Yes, brother killing brother. It’s starts with Cain and Able. Before Cain and Able the place was called EDEN.

      Lots of sad history. Made worse by Bibi. Who has played obama’s and kerry’s weaknesses to the hilt.

      Oh, yeah. Boiler Plate. “Sad day.” “Must make painful decisions.” BS. Hallmark should put aside a section of cards to buy.

      But, yes, politics is a dirty business. I had just held out hope for more from Bibi. Why should I be disappointed, though? Didn’t Sarkozy whisper to Obama, that “Bibi’s a liar.” To which obama replied: “Yes, I know. But I have to work with him every day.”

If you are a meat eater Tel Aviv has an unusual meat delicacy. It’s goose breast. It is served just like duck breast. It’s best eaten medium rare. Both duck breast and goose breast are not susceptible to salmonella (yet). If you are a red meat eater it is the closest thing you will ever get in a bird to medium rare steak. It is worth the effort to find it as long as you are there. I believe it is very efficient to produce (pounds of feed to pounds of meat). I suggest a slightly sweet sauce if available. I wish this were available in the US. Those damn Jews are at the cutting edge of so many things.

DidntBuildit | July 27, 2013 at 11:06 pm

Gorgeous beach picture Professor. But the news of the prisoner release is painful to hear. There is no willing partner with which to negotiate; and it is all a ruse to release the most hardened terrorists. It is no coincidence that those who have been in prison the longest have been there for a reason: they committed the most heinous crimes. Yet despite these prisoner releases over the years, there has been no “peace” from Palestinian terror. Yet the US insists that if Israel releases murderers that it is a sign of good faith? And only then will the Palestinians “negotiate”? The whole thing is a sham.

Regarding this cogent encapsulation: “Israel built while the Arab haters of Jews hated; their hatred now is consuming their own societies as Israel continues to build.” —

In that quoted sentence, try substituting “Black George Zimmerman haters and their non-black supporters” for Arab haters, and substitute “all Americans other than them” for Israel.

Similar situation?

The ghetto-ization of black America as funded/encouraged by white leftists and the Democrat party.

The perpetual dysfunction of the (practicing) Islamic world as funded/encouraged by Gulf Arabs and Iranian mullahs.

And just as the left in the USA wants to see the chaos they have wrought on the black community spread to the American population as a whole (hence propaganda campaigns like that featuring a certain “Julia”), the Gulf Arabs do their best to bring by-and-large no longer practicing Muslim regions (Chechnya and Albania for example) back into the insanity of the fold by funding mosques and more orthodox imams in their lands. And then, of course, there are the efforts of the potentate of Qatar and his little pet, al-Jazeera.

[…] by Bibi are genuine, yet I find it almost impossible to agree with this move. Interestingly, Prof. Jacobson from Legal Insurrection, currently on vacation in Israel, had this to say about the prisoner […]

“Do not fret because of evil men or be envious of the wicked, for the evil man has no future hope, and the lamp of the wicked will be snuffed out.” Proverbs 24:19

“Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall inherit the Kingdom of God.” Jesus

Both scripture apply here.

Juba Doobai! | July 28, 2013 at 10:28 am

Just as the prospect of talks is conditional, Netanyahu’s yielding should also be conditional. The Arabs can have their killers freed when the killers restore life to those whom they have slaughtered. That’s the condition Netyanhu should impose as being essential for talks to begin.

    From what I understand, the prisoner release will indeed be conditional and gradual.

    And yet… it’s still outrageous that we are being asked, no, DEMANDED, to release not POWs, not political prisoners, not administrative detainees, but murderers of civilians. The very thought is making me ill.

Carol Herman | July 28, 2013 at 2:29 pm

All of Israel’s prime ministers looked at Judaism as not being part of a secular society. Ben-Gurion, for no known religious reason, handed off Israel’s religion to the Haredi’s. There were no orthodox, conservative or reform Jews who spoke up.

Ideally, a democracy is secular.

So, I guess Bibi figured he could dispense with territory that only houses religious folk “living in trailors.” And, he’ll probably cry “Obama made me do it.” Which is just another lie.

Go figure, Sarkozy spoke the truth. He didn’t know the microphone was on, when he whispered to Obama, “Bibi is the biggest liar!” And, Obama responded “don’t I know it. Plus, I have to work with him every day.”

With Ben-Gurion, Israelis knew they were “socialistic.” And, there was once a day Golda Meir said about Arik Sharon: “He is not one of us.”

So Sharon went to the religious community (selling them a bill of goods). Until he obtained the prime minister’s job for himself. And, then? He turned.

He gave away Gaza, easily enough. But what most people don’t know is that Arik Sharon expected a call of congratulations. Instead? Dubya said: “Look Arik, your troops are well trained. Send them to the West Bank and do the same thing, there.) Arik hung up the phone and stroked.

What do you know about Bibi now? First, you know he’s considered a liar, by insiders in the American administration. And, the French. He also promoted Livni. Who saw her party really die in the last election. And, he went to Olmert. Who can’t wedge his way back into politics, EXCEPT through this back door.

What does Bibi want? A smaller SECULAR Israel.

What’s missing from Israel throughout all these years? What’s known in America as either, orthodox, conservative, or reform. You can’t herd all the Jews into one building. The way you can in Israel. Like “turtles,” It’s the Haredi all the way down!

This takes pure genius! Bibi stands there like obama/kerry twisted his arm … and, those two are not even in sight … until they see what Bibi’s giving away.

And, if you’ve come this far to read this, you know why. Orthodox, conservative and reform movements were shorn from Israel’s flesh long ago. By Ben-Gurion.

Don’t forget, while you’re in Tel Aviv you can go to the part of the beach where Yitzhak Rabin stood, to fire on Menachem Begin’s followers aboard the Altalena. Where Ben-Burion preferred death to other Jews, than any of the guns and ammunition that had been on board.

Is it a sad day when the TRUTH comes out?

Carol Herman | July 28, 2013 at 6:39 pm

It’s as cheap as a penny at Amazon. With 3 wonderful reviews: BROTHER AGAINST BROTHER: Violence & Extremism in Israeli Politics from the Altalena to the Rabin Assassination.

I recommend this book. Historical. Factual. And, a dynamite reading experience.

All I can say is, that if there IS a segment of the Israeli public that thinks this is a good idea, that we can thank the brainwwashing influence of of Israeli MSM.

There is nothing to gain. At all. Abbas will not make an agreement; he has no reason to. And even if he did, an agreement would make war more likely, not less.

There is everything to lose.

The only winners are some American politicians who get their photo ops. And, of ocurse, the terrorists.