“I want to see justice done,” Ortal Tamam, nephew of IDF soldier Moshe Tamam who was murdered in 1984, had told the court. “I served in the military and I love my country. I don’t understand why we’re facing this situation, where murderers who killed soldiers are being released. I want to see justice done. I don’t want to wake up tomorrow morning and hear that 26 murderers got to go home.”
Tamam couldn’t understand why Israel’s High Court is more merciful to African infiltrators than to the country’s own citizens.
“The bereaved families expected the High Court of Justice — which has only recently weighed in on a government decision regarding African infiltrators — to fight the government head on, but the judges have proven that terror victims mean nothing to them,” he said. “They have folded the flag of justice instead of waving it where it matters the most — before terror organizations.”
In Ramallah, 21 of the terrorists were greeted with cheers, fireworks, flowers, and speeches. After laying wreathes at Yasser Arafat’s grave, they were welcomed by Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas at the administrative center in Ramallah. He shook hands with each one of them. 2,000 relatives, friends, and admirers yelled their adulation.
“We welcome our brothers, the heroes coming from behind the bars to a world of freedom and liberty,” Abbas said, emphasizing that “no permanent peace agreement would be signed as long as there is one single prisoner in Israeli jails.”
“This is a dream come true,” said the mother of oldest released murderer, Abd Rabo. “I never believed that my son would be released in my lifetime. I won’t believe it’s true until I see him back home.”
The West Bank returnees are to receive grants in proportion to their time spent in jail ranging from $710 to $1,280 a month. The Arab attitude makes obvious why every terrorist release becomes a prelude to a significant increase in terror attacks.
In Gaza, the official terrorist welcome to the five other terrorists was subdued due to Hamas perception of the deal as a victory for the Fatah faction. Hamas forbade official celebrations and the Gaza media was muzzled. But this did not stop throngs of people from rushing to the arriving murderers, hoisting them on their shoulders, dancing to blaring music, and waving signs that declared, “We will never forget our heroes.”
Besides welcoming the returning murderers, Abbas also wrote a letter of condolence to the family of terrorist Mohamed Aatzi, who the IDF killed last week for his part in masterminding a mass Tel Aviv bus bombing in November 2012. Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Ron Prosor responded by sending a letter of protest to the U.N.
“Terrorism does not begin with an attack on a bus or a cafe,” he wrote. “That is how terrorism ends. Terrorism begins when its perpetrators are indoctrinated with words and thoughts of hate.” He added that Abbas’ letter was “just the most recent example of the incitement poisoning the next generation … Palestinian children are being taught hate instead of peace; violence instead of tolerance; and martyrdom instead of mutual understanding.”
Nothing highlighted the Palestinians’ constant incitement against Israel more than their adulation of returning murderers.
DIPLOMATS DECRY BUILDING PLANS
Meanwhile, Palestinians and diplomats decried Netanyahu’s go ahead for the immediate building of 1,500 apartments in the West Bank and East Yerushalayim and plans to build an additional 2,000 apartments.
Hamas spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeineh said the plans were “destructive for the peace process.” Peace envoy John Kerry said there was no doubt “that the settlements have disturbed people’s perceptions of whether or not people are serious and are moving in the right direction.”
United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon issued a statement saying, “Settlement activity is contrary to international law and constitutes an obstacle to peace. Any measures that prejudge final status issues will not be recognized by the international community.”
Netanyahu said that the Palestinians were merely trying to create an artificial crisis.
“The Palestinians knew that we would be building during the course of the negotiations,” he said at a cabinet meeting. “It was made clear that it would be part of the process to resume the talks, and they were told in no uncertain terms that Israel would not restrict itself in any way during this time. All the Palestinian claims that this is a violation are an attempt to create an artificial crisis. Israel has fulfilled all the commitments it has taken upon itself. There is no doubt that international recognition of the right of the Jewish people to our own state in our historic homeland is important, and the refusal to recognize us has been the root of the conflict.”
Housing Minister Uri Ariel went further, telling French MPs that “Abu Mazen [Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas] knew about the construction in Judea and Samaria — it was coordinated with him, and his protest was also coordinated.”
DID BENNETT APPROVE THE RELEASE
There is conflict as to what extent Naftali Bennett approved the release of the terrorists.
Israel’s Channel 2 cited political sources as saying that upon first hearing of the agreement Bennett said, “I’ll swallow it if it will be tied to construction.” Later, the channel claimed, he backtracked and voted against the prisoner release.
Bennett’s office denied the allegation stating, “This never was and never existed. [Bennett] never agreed to release terrorists and he announced that he would vote against the government. Any other statement is a lie.”
Even if this is so, MK Moshe Feiglin of Likud argued that if Bayit Yehudi is opposed the terrorist release, they should have left the government instead of merely mudslinging the decision. The stayed on to prevent the chareidim from replacing them in the coalition, he said.
One way or the other, Bennett condemned the government’s policies in no uncertain terms.
“Israel’s policy of releasing terrorists has been deteriorating for years,” he said. “In the past, it was one terrorist for one soldier. Then it became 100 terrorists for one soldier. Then it was hundreds of terrorists for a body. The latest novelty is over 100 heavyweight terrorists for nothing — for holding negotiations with [Palestinian negotiator] Erekat.”