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Released prisoners flashing victory sign. 'Wrong government decision' (archives) Photo: Reuters
Released prisoners flashing victory sign. 'Wrong government decision' (archives) Photo: Reuters
 
 
Eitan Haber  

 

Israel's empty gesture

Op-ed: Murderers released next week will likely be the only ones to enjoy Israel's concession

Published: 12.28.13, 11:14 / Israel Opinion

I don't know Muhammad Daud personally, and that may be a good thing. I tend to get pretty violent when I run into types like him. In 1987, Daud threw a Molotov cocktail at a car near the community of Alfei Menashe, murdering Ofra Moses and her son Tal and seriously injuring the father of the family, Abie Moses, his son Nir and daughter Adi. Since then, they have been carrying the scars of this difficult incident on their bodies – and mainly in their souls.

 

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I got to know Abie, Nir and Adi Moses on the days after the attack. I discovered a unique person: A dreamer of peace, a fighter for peace, who on the other hand is ready to eliminate every terrorist. Longing for peace, and longing for revenge. Some time after the attack the security forces captured Daud, the man who threw the Molotov cocktail, and since then he has been sitting for decades in a prison in Israel. Next week he is expected to be set free, as part of the third stage of the prisoner release. In his own eyes he is a freedom fighter, in our eyes he is a despicable murderer.

 

The release of Daud and his friends from prison next week, in exchange for the resumption of talks with the Palestinians, may be a nice gesture on the part of the current Israeli government – but it's expected to be an empty gesture. The peace talks could run aground, could fail to reach their end, and eventually Daud and his friends will be the only ones to enjoy the Israeli concession to US Secretary of State John Kerry and the Palestinians.

 

This gesture, which in a rare occurrence in the history of the Israeli government's moves is likely not expected to yield any benefit in the future, is the big mistake made by Netanyahu, Livni, Ya'alon and their friends. They had a choice between a temporary settlement construction freeze and the prisoner release, and they picked the second option. They basically had to choose who and what they are more afraid of: The fury of rightists and settlers in Judea and Samaria, or the bereaved families' cry of despair. The prime minister is experienced, and he knows that the uproar over a prisoner release is very short, and disappears after a day or two. Only the bereaved families are left with their grief.

 

But the bereaved families are not alone. Behind their bitter outcry hide thousands of hours of thought put in by the best people in the security service, the endless sweat of soldiers for generations and lives risked in pursuing those murderers – until they were captured. They are all covering their eyes with their hands so as not to see the 'V' fingers, the victory sign flashed by the released prisoners. They all know it's too late to go back on the decision – the State of Israel made a promise, and the State of Israel must keep its promise. But it is doing so while gnashing its teeth, with great rage and frustration over a wrong government decision.

 

 

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