Harming terror victims yet again
From the moment the hollow victory bell sounded with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry's announcement that the Israelis and Palestinians will start talking again for the umpteenth time, the "pre-Olso killers" began counting down the days until their release. While Israeli politicians are trying to exude how uncompromising they are, all intelligent people know this is a false front and that the path has been predetermined.
Once again, terror victims have been hurt, this time on the altar of opportunism for all of the involved parties. The U.S. government, which has yet to solve the many internal and global crises it faces, is pressuring the weak link, Israel, in order to breathe wind into its own sails. Meanwhile, Israeli politicians are continuing to make a mockery of their country's citizens. Among these politicians are faded fighters of terrorism, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who served as a commando when he was young and three decades ago authored the definitive book on how to combat terrorism. Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, who dismantled and set up political parties just to stay in office, is a partner in this phony dance. On the other side, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is receiving the prostitute's fee that he's been seeking -- the release of "pre-Oslo killers."
After releasing 22 female terrorists for a videotape of Gilad Schalit and later another 1,027 murderers for his release, freeing just 103 "pre-Oslo killers" must seem like an achievement for the Israeli government. That number of prisoners to be released in this "deal" is a mere 10 percent of the number released in exchange for Schalit (although the Palestinians are already calling for the release of 350 more prisoners at the end of the current round). Although Livni, who is in charge of negotiations with the Palestinians, wrote on her Facebook page that she'll preserve Israel's security interests, I fear that she won't deviate from past behavior and will release murderers who haven't finished the prison terms they were sentenced to by the justice system that she now leads. If she does this, the security interests for all of us will suffer.
Bereaved families are again gritting their teeth as they visit the graves of their loved ones. These families will again pay the price. Over the years, we've turned into dust, and dust can be brushed away effortlessly. We, who paid the terrible price, are easily sacrificed and belittled. As if just because the murders happened decades ago, the families have healed from the "bereavement disease."
No, Mr. Prime Minister, we haven't healed. No, Mrs. Justice Minister, we haven't forgiven. We believed that the justice system would preserve the honor of the dead after the security system failed to keep our loved ones alive. And you, Mr. Kerry, when has the U.S. ever released terrorists who were sentenced to life terms?
The blood of the dead who lay beneath our feet was shed by enemies who don't accept the fact that we live here in our country. Even after our withdrawal from the Gaza Strip, our enemies continued to hit us harder and from further away. The leaders of our enemies continue to poison their children on a daily basis, preaching against our existence and yearning for a day in which the region is clean of Jews. The prisoners to be released tried and succeeded in killing us. We're not talking about the release of political prisoners, which is customary in the world.
Releasing the murderers of Israeli children and adults undermines all standards of justice and morality. Peace must be based on those lofty values. But that is not the situation in our region.
Ron Kerman is the father of Tal Kerman, who was killed at the age of 17 in the Bus 37 bombing in Haifa in 2003.