Ahead of the resumption of peace talks with the Palestinians Israel
is being asked to release numerous murderers as a "gesture." This is very difficult because we are talking about terrorists who murdered many civilians. Some of them are even Israeli citizens who were tried here like any other prisoner, so why should they be released?
First of all, we should internalize the fact that this is not about making a gesture – there is a deal at play here. The release of prisoners as part of the negotiations is far more worthy than releasing prisoners as part of a deal to return kidnapped soldiers or civilians. At least here there is hope that the release, and the subsequent talks, will reduce the number of casualties in the future.
In stark contrast to deals that include the release of murderers in exchange for kidnapped Israelis or bodies of Israelis, this type of deal does not encourage more abductions. On the contrary, it may even encourage additional peace-making activity. Meaning, such a gesture encourages the more moderate elements on the Palestinian side rather than the extremist and violent ones. This deal should be viewed as an extension of the Gilad Shalit
deal in which Israel accepted Hamas
' demands. Now Fatah
is asking for its share.
The release of prisoners is also part of a deal in which the other side allowed Netanyahu not to declare a settlement construction freeze and the resumption of talks based on the 1967 lines. This was important to the prime minister.
The release of prisoners offers another opportunity to impose the death penalty on terrorist murderers. This is the time to pass legislation stating that those who murder civilians in an act of hate or terror will be executed. There is no reason why someone who is willing to kill innocent and defenseless people only on the basis of his hatred for the other should not be killed himself.
By introducing capital punishment we will also be avoiding any future dispute regarding the release of prisoners with blood on their hands. It may also deter some potential terrorists. And even more importantly, the death penalty will reduce the other side's motivation to carry out acts of terror with the ultimate goal of releasing prisoners held by Israel.
We have seen again and again that frameworks or red lines cannot be determined in advance when it comes to negotiations on the release of murderers. We've experienced this during the Shalit prisoner exchange deal. But even this time around, after the government adopted the recommendations of the Shamgar Commission, the conclusion is that the government cannot be bound by such guidelines, reasonable as they may be. In the end, the emotional aspect overcomes the practical one.
Now is the time to enact a death penalty law. It will gain broad public support and may also relieve, to some extent, the pain of the released prisoners' victims. I believe the international community will accept such a decision by Israel due to the current release of prisoners and the resumption of peace negotiations.
In the name of justice and equality, and in order to shore up support for the legislation, Israel must make it clear that the law will also apply to Jewish terrorists who murder Arabs in acts of hatred or revenge.
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