WEINSTEIN: Israel’s troubling release of Palestinian terrorists

Jamie Weinstein Senior Writer
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In 1988, Mahmoud Salam Saliman Abu Harabish and Adam Ibrahim Juma’a-Juma’a decided to firebomb a bus of Israeli civilians.

The result was gruesome. A 26-year old school teacher, Rachel Weiss, was incinerated, along with her three young children, who ranged from three years old to 9-months. An Israeli soldier who came to their rescue also died as result of the attack.

Thanks to Secretary of State John Kerry’s nimble negotiating skills, Harabish and Juma’a-Juma’a will reportedly be among the 104 violent Palestinian terrorists released from Israeli prisons in stages as a goodwill gesture by the Jewish state in advance of the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks that are set to begin Monday in Washington, D.C.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would not have likely agreed to such a “goodwill gesture” without American pressure. One would presume that the prime minister wants to be on good terms with the Obama administration in the event Israel is forced to take the difficult decision to attack Iran’s nuclear program. So Netanyahu will yield to the delusions of America’s top diplomat in the hopes that it will buy his country some brownie points for the greater battle potentially on the horizon.

But the whole process begs a question: why does Israel need to release over one hundred violent killers in order to get the Palestinians to come to the table to talk peace? Shouldn’t the prospect of peace be enough to bring the Palestinians to the negotiating table?

That conundrum alone should be enough to make Kerry question whether now is the right time to pursue peace talks.

It has become increasingly clear that America doesn’t have its sharpest mind running State. Kerry is putting his time, energy and the prestige of the United States into Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations when the leader representing the Palestinian side, Mahmoud Abbas, doesn’t even control all the territory he is supposed to be negotiating on behalf of.

And Kerry is doing this at a time when the Middle East is on fire. Even if Kerry were to somehow defy the laws of reason and succeed, not a single one of the significant fires raging in the Middle East would be put out. Not the turmoil in Egypt. Not the civil war in Syria. Not Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons. Not the sectarian violence in Iraq. Not the terrorist threat from Yemen. Not any of it.

This is not to say Israeli-Palestinian peace isn’t worth anything. It is. That’s why Israel has time and again, especially since 2000, offered much in the pursuit of peace, only to be rebuffed by the Palestinians. This doesn’t mean peace will never come to Israelis and Palestinians. But it surely won’t come as long as a terrorist group whose charter calls for the extermination of Jews is in power in part of the territory under Palestinian control.

Kerry may be hoping for a Nobel Peace Prize, but his efforts will succeed only in freeing Palestinian terrorists with blood on their hands from prison. If he gets something more, it will just be more bloodshed, thanks to him raising the prospect of a peace deal between Israelis and Palestinians when no hope for such an outcome currently exists.

Had she lived, Weiss would be in her 50s today. Her children — Rafael, Netanel and Efraim — would be in their mid to late 20s, like me. Who knows what they would have contributed to society had their lives not been cruelly and unmercifully snuffed out.

If releasing 104 violent Palestinian terrorists from prison would help bring about a lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians, I would be for it, even if it would be tough to stomach.

But it won’t do that. It won’t do anything, other then mock justice.

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