A plea against releasing prisoners...
Israel needs to think twice...
It's been nine years since my daughter Malki was murdered in the suicide bombing of Jerusalem's Sbarro restaurant and terrorism denial is still rampant.
Foreign diplomats may still preface their complaints against Israel with the formulaic "Israel has some genuine security concerns and they have to be met." But after that obligatory line, most feel free to attack Israel with no holds barred.
Some of Israel's home-grown critics don't even bother with such political correctness. Our security is no longer a justified concern in their view and they have no compunction about saying so. Suicide bombers? Intifada? Israeli terror victims? Not in their history books.
Writing recently in Haaretz, columnist Merav Michaeli described a variety of possible solutions to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Her conclusion? It is incumbent upon us to "want to live in peace. Not in security, but in peace." Her column was even entitled "Not in Security, but Peace" in case the message was not clear enough.
Terrorism denial is the foundation on which the Free Gilad Schalit campaign has been built. At some point, its legitimate effort to pressure all involved parties to free Schalit was hijacked. Today its goal is nothing short of maligning and undermining Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu for his unwillingness to release every last prisoner demanded by Hamas.
This campaign could not have galvanized so many - some estimate 200,000 joined its eleven-day march to Jerusalem last month - without the groundwork laid by terrorism denial. Were the faces of the 1,000 innocent Israelis murdered during the second intifada still fresh in Israelis' minds, warnings about the dangers of a mass prisoner release would not be dismissed as casually and as persistently as they are being now.
The statistics are chilling. According to government numbers, some 45 percent of released terrorists return to terrorism, while the rate of recidivism among Hamas members is 63%. And yet these numbers impact fewer and fewer Israelis.
Instead we hear Mayor Yoel Levi of Ramle, in an address to the Schalit march participants, calling the warnings against a prisoner release "scaremongering".
And we hear Noam Schalit, Gilad’s father, refer to them as "doomsday scenarios from twenty-five years ago."
In the current climate of terrorism denial, such attitudes gain traction with ease. It is left to the bereaved families to fight this dangerous phenomenon. We, who feel the pain of terrorism every minute of every day, must remind Israelis what "releasing the prisoners" to free Gilad Schalit entails. We must refresh the short collective memory of who those prisoners are, what they did and what can we expect them to do in the future.
Ahlam Tamimi is one prisoner that Hamas wants freed. As a woman, she garners much sympathy for their cause. The mere mention of "woman" and "prison" in one sentence is a surefire tearjerker.
But here are the facts. Tamimi is a mega-terrorist. She is responsible for the deaths of fifteen men, women and children, all of them civilians. She transported 10 kg of explosives hidden in a guitar case into west Jerusalem, handed them to her accomplice and escorted him through the city center disguised as a Western tourist. She led him to the target she herself had selected, an eatery filled with families eating lunch. She then warned her "weapon" to wait fifteen minutes before he detonated the bomb - allowing her enough time to escape unharmed.
After her conviction, Tamimi smiled with pleasure upon learning from an interviewer how many children she murdered. She told Ynet: "I am not sorry for what I did. I will get out of prison and I refuse to recognize Israel’s existence… Discussions will only take place after Israel recognizes that this is Islamic land.” She has served only six years out of sixteen consecutive life terms.
Does any rational human being believe that this monster will enroll in a flower arranging course when she is released? Or sit at home writing a novel?