On Thursday, Israel and the Palestinian Authority agreed to continue "negotiating" the terms that would enable both sides to extend "negotiations" on whether to enter "negotiations" for Palestinian statehood. The farce has become so tedious that its latest act wasn't even mentioned in the Israeli media.
This is not surprising.
Like the boy who cried wolf, representatives of the United States, the PA and Israel keep pretending that a deal of some kind is around the corner. And, as in Aesop's fable, when it does arrive, its deadly fangs will likely go unnoticed until it's too late.
Though Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu blamed PA incitement for Monday's terrorist attack (in which Israel Police Chief Superintendent Baruch Mizrahi, traveling with his pregnant wife and five children to a Passover Seder, was killed), this does not mean he is done making concessions. And now that the U.S. is cynically using Jonathan Pollard as bait, Netanyahu is really in a bind. His constituents want Pollard's freedom. In order to obtain it for the incarcerated spy, however, he would have to accept an American framework according to which all Jewish construction beyond the 1949 armistice lines is halted and 400 additional Palestinian terrorists are released from prison.
In her eulogy to her dead husband on Wednesday, Hadas Mizrahi -- healing from two bullet wounds -- called on Netanyahu to stop releasing terrorists "while more and more families are murdered." Since her own family's attackers have yet to be apprehended, she could not know whether they were among the Palestinian prisoners recently freed by Israel as an enticement to the PA to "negotiate" a new round of "negotiations."
But she is certainly not alone in her view of the matter. In fact, the prevailing position across the Zionist political spectrum is that terrorists should remain in jail forever. This is not solely due to the statistical probability that, once released, they are likely to resume committing or instigating the bloody activities for which they are hailed in Ramallah and Gaza. It is also an issue of morality.
Most Israelis believe that anyone who slaughters innocent civilians does not deserve mercy, let alone leniency, even if he was acting out of an ideological-religious imperative. In the absence of the death penalty (the only person ever civilly executed in Israel was Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann, hanged in 1962; Meir Tobianski, an IDF soldier falsely accused of treason during the 1948 War of Independence, was court-martialed and killed by firing squad), the attitude in Israel is that terrorists should at the very least rot behind bars.
It is no wonder, then, that when given a glimpse into the prison conditions of the monsters in question, the general public prefers to look the other way. The victims of terrorism and their loved ones, on the other hand, are forced at such moments to have salt poured into their ever-present wounds.
A recent case in point is that of Palestinian terrorist Issa Abd Rabbo, which was brought to light by Palestinian Media Watch this week.
In 1984, Abd Rabbo ambushed and executed two Israeli college students while they were hiking near Jerusalem.
He recounted the murder matter-of-factly: "I tied them up, of course, and then sentenced them to death by shooting, in the name of the revolution. I shot them, one bullet each, and went [hiding] in the mountains."
For his heinous act, Abd Rabbo was sentenced to two consecutive life terms.
But in October, he was one of 104 terrorists released as part of Israel's attempt to fulfill the PA precondition for "negotiating" a resumption of "negotiations." And, like his compatriots, he was welcomed home with great fanfare by the PA leadership.
Earlier this month, on April 8, he was treated to a glowing profile in the PA-controlled daily newspaper Al-Hayat Al-Jadida.
Here is a choice excerpt from the article, outlining the torture the terrorist had to endure:
"Before his arrest, Abd Rabbo collected stamps ... among them ... a collection of Jordanian stamps he had cut out of postal envelopes. After his arrest, he tried to pursue his hobby in prison. ... Abd Rabbo said: 'I asked each prisoner to save the envelope for me so I could cut out the stamp or stamps attached to it. During my long time in prison, I collected 100 stamps, which accompanied me whenever I moved between nearly all of the occupation's prisons ... but it was difficult for me to pursue [my] hobby in prison, because there were many restrictions, few letters arrived, and the quality of the stamps [was poor]. Prison also affects our hobbies, and I had no special albums to put the stamps in properly.'"
This is but one of many such puff pieces in the Palestinian press. Their purpose is to convey the message that it is always worthwhile to kill innocent Israelis, since incarceration at the hands of the Zionist enemy is not so bad; and as long as Israelis crave peace, there is a good chance of getting released from prison when yet another round of "negotiations" to "negotiate" is in the air.
Israel must cease proving the PA right and start showing the U.S. that it is wrong. Dead wrong.Ruthie Blum is the author of "To Hell in a Handbasket: Carter, Obama, and the 'Arab Spring.'"
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