Tuesday, July 30, 2013
Israel’s Release of 104 Palestinian Murderers
'We had to choose between a bad decision and an even worse one,' these were the word spoken by Defense minister Moshe Yaalon today, justified by hints that secret deals had been made, either with the USA or Palestinians.
The lone consolation we can ease from the deep fissures of despair caused by the staged release of nationalist murderers is that this is a political decision that neither Israelis nor any one else can influence, for now.
In principle it may be that some of the incarcerated psychopaths will do no harm on their release into Arab society. But some people would persuasively argue that Arab society encourages the sociopath and therefore, what we regard as deeply repugnant behaviour is, within Arab society, a social norm. It is in the response to this discordance between Islam (the blanket around which the Arab world has chosen to wrap itself) and the West that Israel as an outpost of Western Civilization has failed to creatively respond.
In recent blogs I have criticized Israel’s founding fathers for their failure to integrate Israel’s Arab and ultra-orthodox minorities into society. Assuming that an Arab fifth column would need to be assimilated at some time in the unknowable future and that the ultra-orthodox would simply die out as the logic of superior secular culture enveloped them, has proven to be incredibly myopic.
Israeli Arabs have no support network within Israeli society to support them against Arab extremists who refuse to countenance co-existence with the Jews (Israelis). Islamic triumphalists agitate for an Arab apartheid mini-state that will progressively undermine Israel. It is Israel’s failure to undertake robust action against any individual or organization that does battle against minority integration that has shaped today’s terrible situation. And the government of Israel will now release more people who undermine the authority of the state into communities that will become even more radicalized by their presence.
A quote from Ynet today: “As talks resume in Washington, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas says 'In a final resolution, we would not see the presence of a single Israeli - civilian or soldier - on our lands'....” I have no problems with that, but I do have a response:
First: the Islamic world, particularly the Arab world has shown itself to be fundamentally incapable of honoring the cultural heritage of other races or religious groups throughout its 1,400 year history. In areas ruled by Palestinians, trust is wholly absent and respect non-existent. There is not a single reason to believe that this bigotry can be cured or controlled in an independent Palestine. Jewish and Christian holy sites have often been targeted for desecration and destruction. The United Nations Organisation can never be trusted to assuage our concerns. All areas of archaeological and religious interest that come under Palestinian oversight will have to be internationalized and even that will not guarantee religious freedom or security for Jews and Christians.
Second: If Palestine is to be ‘Jew free’ then it is only just that Israel be free of all people who desire to classify themselves as Palestinian rather than Israeli. It is after all, a declaration of identification, of personal as well as national fealty.
I have two issues with the release of Arab murderers as a pre-condition for the restarting of peace talks.
The essence of sovereignty is the right of the nation to make decisions in its own defense. And that includes the right to lock up those who kill, for whatever reason. Once the State takes the decision that Israeli Arab activities are outside of State jurisdiction then it also declares that its sovereignty is conditional. Therefore, it is no longer an independent nation.
I am not concerned that Palestine and Gaza will take to their collective bosom those who commit murder with a bliss that broaches not a moment of shame but that Israel will absorb up to 14 of these deeply sick individuals. Their hatred contaminates the very air that their Israeli Arab neighbours breathe. Their physical presence pollutes any free space that they inhabit.
The bigots will point out that Israel also had its terrorists in the struggle for independence. But as Ben-Dror Yemini wrote in Ma’ariv on the 28th of July ‘….somebody always pops up to repeat the lie that the Jews who fought the Mandate were also terrorists. A half-truth is worse than a lie, because there was terrorism in the struggle against the British, but it was uncharacteristic. Most of the Yishuv opposed it. The Yishuv did not support it and did not finance it. For the Palestinians, the murderers are heroes.’ The Palestinians honor them, they throw huge amounts of money at them, they immortalize them.
Goodwill gestures are meaningless if they fail to carry the people with them. A recent poll found that 88% of the Jewish population is opposed to the release of these murderers as a precondition for restarting negotiations. Previous swaps were supported by a majority of Jews.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu owes the people an explanation.