Israeli-Palestinian talks will most likely resume now that President Barack Obama and his Secretary of State John Kerry have pressured Israel into a disturbing concession: release more than 100 convicted terrorists and life-term prisoners, many of whom are guilty of various acts of violent terrorism and many more guilty of direct charges of murdering Israeli’s. President Obama has urged Israel to abide by Kerry’s terms with his main bargaining chip being continued support for Israel at the United Nations and other international forums, where Palestinians have continued to press for recognition while sponsoring anti-Israel boycotts.
Similar concessions in the past, including the April 2012 release by Israel of more than 1,000 prisoners in exchange for kidnapped soldier Gilad Shali, proved to be disastrous – with many of those released returning to their posts and resuming their violence against Israel. This round of appeasement releases, however, will likely result in even more violence as the radicalism of those currently being released as well as their crimes against Israel are much worse.
On Sunday Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu won 13 votes from his 22-member cabinet and approved the staged release of 104 convicted prisoners. Seven members opposed and 2 abstained. Protesters outside the prime minister’s office criticized the decision, saying it will reward terrorists and free criminals with “blood on their hands.”
Hoping to calm public outrage about the releases, Netanyahu issued a statement on Saturday urging the support of Israelis for what he called a “very painful decision“:
“This is an incredibly tough decision. It is painful to the bereaved families, it is painful to the Israeli people and it is very painful to me. It clashes with the value of justice. It is an obvious injustice that criminals, even if most of them spent more than 20 years in prison, be released before they finish serving their sentence. Prime ministers must from time to time make decisions that go against public opinion, when it is important for the country to do so. The best answer we give to those murderers is that in the years that they have spent in prison we have built a beautiful country.”
The releases are a part of what appears to be a package of concessions Israel must make in order to bring Palestinian negotiators back to the peace talks table – and that theory is emboldened by the fact that Palestine offered little to nothing in exchange for the releases. Palestinian leaders meeting with Kerry recently seemed less than enthusiastic about returning to talks. Skeptics said that Kerry’s pressure might bring the parties together in the same room but that chances for success would be slim if either side was a reluctant participant. Palestinians’ lackluster support was evident during a Ramallah photo op Friday with a smiling Kerry and somber Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. “Mr. President, you should look happy,” Kerry said. Abbas didn’t respond.
Kerry hopes to renew talks in Washington on Tuesday between representatives from both sides.
Palestinians also want Kerry to force Israel into accepting the borders that existed before it seized additional territory in the 1967 Middle East War but despite Kerry’s attempts he has been unable to get Israel to accept the condition or persuade Palestinians to back down.
As a condition of resuming peace talks Palestinian leaders asked that their Hamas thug buddies be released from Israeli prisons – Kerry gets it done for his President – who insisted that the condition be met in exchange for his continued, lukewarm support of Israel at the UN.
There’s 104 more radical Islamic murderers roaming the earth. Great job.