Recently we have been hearing ministers and Knesset members calling for the release of Marwan Barghouti from prison. While listening to them one may think that he is serving a jail sentence for failing to turn on his headlights during winter.
It would be appropriate to make note of his victims – Yoela Chen, who was murdered at a gas station in Givat Ze’ev, Greek-Orthodox monk Georgios Tsibouktzakis, who was murdered in Maale Adumim, Yosef Havi, Eliyahu Dahan and police officer Salim Barichat, murdered in the terror attack on the Sea Food Market restaurant in Tel Aviv, and the others who were wounded in the murderous attacks masterminded by Barghouti.
All of them have families, names, and faces. There is also a great sense of loss and pain over the lives that were cut down. Yet the victims and their families were forgotten, while the murderer enjoys visits and great honor.
We are not dealing with the Dalai Lama here. Barghouti is not a peace-lover who espouses non-violence to achieve his objectives. We are talking about a despicable murderer who is in prison for good reason. He destroyed families and left them to deal with their pain for eternity.
Indeed, on occasion, in order to secure the release of our captives we need to free despicable murderers, but this does not turn them into cultural icons and does not turn their release into ideology. This is a heavy price paid for securing our captives, rather than a voluntary act.
Those calling for Barghouti’s release are tainted by immorality, show crude disregard to the victims and their relatives, and also ignore the court that convicted him on five counts of murder and other severe violations.
Barghouti, Hamas share same ideologyThese people explain to us that Barghouti is Fatah’s hope vis-à-vis Hamas and must therefore be freed. Yet for Israel, there is no preference whatsoever for a murderer like Barghouti over Hamas members. Their ideology is the same, the murder of Jews, yet while Hamas men talk about it openly, people such as Barghouti enjoy good PR and the assistance of Jews and a sympathetic media. They express themselves moderately in public, while secretly ordering the murder of Jews, as the court ruled in Barghouti’s case.
It is easier for us to contend with an open enemy than with an enemy that pretends to seek peace and deceives people abroad and in Israel, including within our government.
The murders Barghouti was convicted over were perpetrated in the years 2000-2001, following the Oslo Accords and even after former Prime Minister Ehud Barak offered the Palestinians everything in Camp David and in Taba, while they were unwilling to take it. Therefore, even based on what Barghouti says, he could not have hidden behind the lie of supposed war against the occupation.
Our people would do well if they do not let baseless and dubious cost-benefit considerations blind them. What kind of message do they wish to convey regarding the price paid by those who murdered Jews? Besides, the arrogance inherent in the attempt to crown our neighbors’ leaders and expect them to accept those who are good for us is unwise and will not succeed.