Secretary of State John Kerry’s Arab-Israeli peace plan appears to have “successfully” entered its pre-negotiations stage with the release of 82 Palestinian terrorists, all of whom have been serving life sentences since 1993.
Two of the terrorists being released as per request of “moderate” Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas are responsible for murdering three children, their mother, and the IDF soldier that tried to save them.
In a scathing critique of the Kerry plan, Jonathan Tobin wrote, “Whatever one may think of the need for peace talks, we should all be ashamed of the American involvement in letting killers walk in this manner”.
While Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu may feel that it is in the best interests of his country to cooperate with the Obama Administration in order to gain political capital towards defending Israel’s vital interests (such as against a nuclear Iran), others are crying foul. Israeli Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon noted that Israel must learn from the diplomatic failures of the past, and recognize the “Prisoners for Peace” plan as such: “We must learn from our past mistakes and not free terrorists with blood on their hands, neither as a gesture nor as a reward.”
Releasing the prisoners will likely encourage and continue the long-standing tradition in the West Bank and Gaza strip of honoring terrorists as martyrs. For example, Yihyeh Ayyah was a Palestinian terrorist who was responsible for the deaths of 20 people in a 1994 Tel Aviv bus bombing. In 2010, the Palestinian Authority honored his brutality by naming a street after him next to the presidential compound in Ramallah.
Palestinian Media Watch is a research institute that focuses on the Palestinian society and its propaganda campaign. Since 2010, it has documented over 26 instances of this practice of “Terror Glorification”.
Additionally, the Palestinian delegation in the disputed West Bank has rejected the notion that the release of terrorists is enough to get them to the negotiating table. They would like to see Israel unilaterally withdraw from its present sovereign borders and return to where the state’s territorial boundaries were before 1967.
The fact that Israel’s territorial gains post-1967 ultimately came from defending its nation from its genocidal neighbors seems to have, time and time again with both the Obama Administration and the Palestinian leadership, fallen upon deaf ears.