|15 people were murdered in the Sbarro massacre. A 16th person, a young|
mother, has never regained consciousness. Hundreds of lives were
impacted, never to be the same again. And the murder, the planner,
the central figure, is about to walk free.
A government that seeks the defeat of the terrorists must refuse to release convicted terrorists from prisons. Israel has entered into transactions like this one several times in the past. If the plan was to bring terrorist attacks on Israelis to an end, then the release of those terrorists failed. We wonder why that lesson has never been properly internalized. Releasing imprisoned terrorists emboldens them and their colleagues. If they are captured, they know their imprisonment will be brief. By nurturing the belief that their demands are likely to be met in the future, you encourage terrorist blackmail of the very kind that you want to stop. Only the most unrelenting refusal to ever give in to such blackmail can prevent this.
If what I have just keyed in sounds vaguely familiar to some readers, there's a good reason. It's a paraphrase of page 144 of a 1997 book called "Fighting Terrorism: How Democracies Can Defeat Domestic and International Terrorists". The author is Benjamin Netanyahu, and tonight we are astonished at the decision he pushed through the government.
Nothing is official yet but the murderer of our daughter and 14 other people, most of them women and children, is on the release list as we feared for years she would be. She has said in published jail-house interviews that she will be freed. She says she is not sorry for what she did. Her central role in the murders at the Sbarro restaurant have made her a hero. With her release, she will be a living inspiration to countless young Arabs desperate for a positive role-model in life. Is Israel ready for the consequences of that?
Has our government taken into account what the release means to families like us, and we are in the thousands, who have suffered the worst possible loss and now see the perpetrators dancing and prancing in the arms of their supporters?
Everyone wants Gilad Shalit home, safe and well. If we were his parents, we might have done what the Shalits did. But this is not the same as deciding, as prime minister or as the cabinet, what is good for the country, for the people of Israel. The jubilation emanating from the two Palestinian Arab governments tonight, the Hamas and the Abu Mazen regimes, should make clear to Israel's friends everywhere that something dreadful has happened tonight. We may come to bitterly regret this transaction for years to come.