Tragically rerun melodrama

Convicted arch-murderers jubilant on their releaseEach time Israel prepares to let loose convicted arch-terrorists with blood on their hands, families of the victims and Almagor, the association that represents them, appeal against the impending releases to the High Court of Justice. It’s a hackneyed ritual whose results are already well-known in advance. There is never any variation and therefore never really any likelihood of a different outcome.

None of the participants in this tragically rerun melodrama has any delusions about how it will end.

Of course, our selectively interventionist Supreme Court’s record is full of precedents where it overruled government decisions. Nonetheless, the state recurrently couches its arguments in the need to uphold the executive branch’s decisions on various diplomatic deals. This purportedly takes precedence over prolonged and punctilious legal procedures and trials in which the perpetrators in question were duly convicted of some of the most heinous crimes imaginable.

These defendants were accorded full rights and the convictions can stand up to the most stringent legal scrutiny by any objective observer.

Yet these convicts are in the final analysis not treated as convicts but at most as prisoners of war whose incarceration is subject to give-and-take between the combatant sides. If the entire furor indeed revolved around POWs, then there’s ample legal logic to the state’s claims. Enemy troops captured in the course of battle can be held until such a time in which a mutually agreed swap is arranged. They are not criminals, were never tried in court and are by no definition convicts.

This patently is not the case with convicted terrorists, especially ones who also happen to be Israeli citizens. In their case, in addition, to homicide they also committed treason. They had their day in court and were sentenced – in many cases to multiple life sentences.

The legal status of convicts should altogether put them entirely out of bounds for either swaps (as in the Gilad Schalit case) or to express “goodwill gestures” as payment for kick-starting the current negotiating round with the Palestinian Authority.

Citing diplomatic considerations should be as much of a non-starter as criteria for premature release as it would be in a hypothetical case in which the government would decide to imprison anyone because of diplomatic undertakings.

It is unthinkable in our legal culture that a government would accede to the demands of a foreign ruler and put given persons behind bars as “a confidence-building measure” to appease said foreign ruler. By any reasonable yardstick, this would make mockery out of our legal system and national sovereignty.

Yet the identical is true in reverse. Citing diplomatic expedience as the rationale for absolving coldblooded mass-murderers from serving out their terms undermines our judiciary and independence in exactly the same manner.

In effect, we are giving power to a foreign ruler – PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas in this instance – to determine how long the murderers of Israelis would serve. In these circumstances we might as well close down out courts entirely and leave everything up to Abbas.

If the murderers of entire families are arbitrarily set free by his say-so, it’s not inconceivable that he would eventually demand the liberation of Amjad Mahmad Awad and Hakim Mazen Awad of Awarta, who in 2011 butchered five members of the Fogel family in Itamar – mother, father and their three children. The Awads, who decapitated a three-month-old infant, are already celebrated as heroes and role models in the PA-controlled media, schools and mosques.

Those whom Abbas now demands released to buy his entry into the talks, were guilty of no less bloodcurdling slaughters, even if these took place years earlier.

The fact that Abbas’s influence now extends to Israeli-Arabs is the most disturbing as it creates a clear precedent of incontrovertible discrimination. No wonder several Jews convicted of terrorist acts are already now preparing to petition the courts to cut short their sentences as well.

If the sentences of some Israelis can be commuted, why not those of others? Surely, the court cannot formally favor Arabs over Jews as that undercuts the principle of equality before the law.

12 thoughts on “Tragically rerun melodrama

  1. Sharon never got to see the monstrous and deadly error of his ways. I hope Netanyahu lives to 120, and has to see, each day of his life, his huge and ruinous mistake.

  2. I agree with you Sarah wholeheartedly. Why has the apparently lily livered Israeli government not said “NO” until a deal is reached – if ever. In my opinion, God knows what sort of deal will be reached (if at all) to the detriment of Israel when one considers Tzipi Livni is a representative of the team!!!

    Further to your previous article, perhaps Israel should employ a professional poker teacher – as the historical evidence to date indicates they have no idea how to play the political game and appear to be amateur negotiators. Who in their right minds gives away a negotiating card prior to
    “spieling” for a reciprocal card.?

    Arguably by releasing “murderers” of our own people, (not I stress, prisoners of war or even terrorists) the present Israeli government is complicit in their heinous actions and has shown the Arabic world that the leaders can be manipulated. The Arabic world despises us, has unilaterally declared worldwide a desire for total Jewish and Israeli destruction. On both counts the present leaders in Jerusalem have failed the Israeli people – the innocents that have died, the soldiers that have perished as well as present and future serving soldiers that will undoubtedly give their lives for security and peace.

    Not one single person in the present negotiations had the intestinal fortitude to say “No releases until we see genuine concrete evidence of reciprocity……….” etc etc. They have blood on their hands and cannot excuse themselves by invoking the political card. So far they’ve failed at the first hurdle. Sickening!!!!!!

  3. As the talks now underway are unlikely to change the stalemated conflict between Jews and Arabs in the MiddleEast, the Jews and the Israeli judicial system are again the losers.
    Or, to state the obverse , the Arabs have pulled the “Out of Jail” card.
    Arabs 1, Jews 0. Nice opening!

  4. In short, it shows that we also accept the Arab concept that they are not blood thirsty animals but prisoners of war. And releasing them, as between States, WE ADMIT THAT THE P.A. IS A STATE! No need to negotiate, we have to retreat from territories which do belong to this State!
    And if it is already a State, how can we dictate conditions or demand concessions? This is a brilliant move from Abu Mazen! And our pitiful leaders have not noticed it, distracted but not convinced, with the tears of the victims.
    And about the pressure of Obama, if it is so important to them, why didn’t we ask for Pollard?

  5. I am sick at heart (as well as sick to my stomach) at seeing photos of the Palestinians, along with Abbas himself, celebrating the release of their “heroes.” Upon reading this excellent article, I was made aware of yet another outrageous consequence of freeing ANY terrorist, let alone convicted criminals, at the demand of a foreign power. That is that Jewish convicts
    could conceivably petition — and win! — early release also! Netanyahu’s (and the cabinet’s) agreement was a vile misuse of the offices they were elected for. Their responses should have been a firm “No!” and sticking to Netanyahu’s original position of “no preconditions!” The fact that he gave in to pressure means that the only thing left to “negotiate” is HOW MUCH of Israel’s precious land he will “concede” in order to bring about the Palestinians’ worthless signatures on a piece of paper and NOT WHETHER the “occupied land” will be given away! Netanyahu is not only a betrayer, he is an incredibly stupid negotiator! What we need now is a miracle!

  6. Israel again acts against it’s OWN interests in order to please the American “friends”…
    BUT the times, they have changed and those “friends” should be preoccupied with a Middle East up in flames…
    Maybe the players, they just haven’t changed…
    I have to admit here, to feel a bit nostalgic…

  7. The lie is that such releases are “painful decisions.” The High Court of Justice feels no pain at all. Quite the contrary, its judges swoon over themselves for their highmindedness, and in the exquisite pleasure of inflicting pain on a Jewish population that they despise as worthless trash.

    And about the pressure of Obama, add to that the inglorious adulation that the vast majority of American Jews have for this tormenter of Israel, and the decision of Bibi and his Cabinet to approve the releases can be seen not merely as abject cowardice, but the sickness of despair.

  8. You’ve illuminated the real issue, those who have been released in the past, recently released and, one hopes not, to be released in the future, are criminals convicted in a court of law, some of heinous crimes. They are NOT prisoners of war.. The US and Europe should be ashamed to ask Israel to negotiate with an entity that lauds child murders and terrorists demands the freedom of said same..

  9. Pingback: Binfol Oyvekha Al Tismakh | wizardofil

  10. I have had difficulty obtaining the recent blogs. Tried switching off firewall and Zone alarm anti virus. Tried changing browser. Tried copy/paste URL into browser. Tried clicking on ‘Sarah Honig’ in the centre of the post. All to no avail. Each time it finds the webpage and just sits ‘waiting for’. Same for ‘The Obama Variation’. Never used to have any problems. Any ideas? Thanks, Dick Worth

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