Dumping irrationality as a national strategy
US Secretary of State John Kerry will arrive in Israel for his 14th visit this week. And to assure that his stay will be a happy one, Saturday night the government approved the release of 26 more Palestinian mass murderers from prison. This will please Kerry because today a core goal of US Middle East policy is to secure the release of Palestinian mass murderers from Israeli prisons.
That’s right. The same America that until a few years ago led the free world in the global war against terror, now conditions its support for Israel, its chief regional ally in that war, on the Jewish state’s willingness to release unrepentant, mass murdering terrorists back into Palestinian society.
Not to put too fine a point on it, but it ought to go without saying that this policy hinders, rather than advances the cause of peace.
It is impossible to rationally claim that by coercing Israel into releasing people like Juma Ibrahim Juma Adam and Mahmoud Salam Saliman Abu Karbish that the US is advancing the cause of peace.
In 1992, the two men firebombed a civilian bus, murdering Rachel Weiss, who was nine months pregnant, and three of her pre-school aged children, as well as IDF soldier David Delarosa, who tried to save them.
They were released on Monday, due to US pressure on Israel and received back home to heroes’ welcomes. Their freedom empowers Palestinians who reject Israel’s right to exist and seek its destruction through acts of genocide against its Jewish citizens.
Indeed, their release all but guarantees that the new round of terror war that Kerry threatened Israelis would break out if we aren’t forthcoming to PLO demands, will take place. In other words, by supporting the release of terrorists from prison, the US government is enabling the next round of the Palestinian terror war against Israel.
Beyond that, both the Palestinian demand for the terrorist releases, and the US support for those releases make a mockery of the whole concept of the two-state solution. A society that insists on the release from prison of its worst, most prolific murderers is not a society with any interest in making peace with the society targeted and victimized by their crimes.
And US support for this Palestinian demand puts paid to Kerry and President Barack Obama’s claims that they seek a peaceful resolution of the Palestinian conflict with Israel.
The Palestinians’ support for terrorists doesn’t merely demonstrate their ill-intentions. It shows that the whole peace process that has become the centerpiece of US Middle East policy is based on a fiction.
When Israel agreed to accept the PLO as its partner in peacemaking two decades ago, that agreement was predicated on the terror group’s pledge to abjure further terrorism and to cooperate with Israel in fighting and defeating terrorists within Palestinian society. Without that pledge Israel would never have agreed to recognize the PLO . And that pledge, as we were reminded yet again on Monday, was a complete lie.
Then there is the international legal aspect to the Palestinian demand for Israel to free terrorists, and to the US support for this demand. Binding UN Security Council resolution 1373 requires all states to “Deny safe haven to those who finance, plan, support, or commit terrorist acts, or provide safe havens.”
So by sheltering terrorists the Palestinian Authority stands in breach of binding international law. And by supporting the PA ’s sheltering of those terrorists, by coercing Israel into releasing them, the US has placed itself in a deeply problematic position in relation to international law. It has also forced Israel into a deeply problematic position by bowing to the US demand to release them.
The Israeli public, rightly, views the release of Palestinian mass murderers as insane, dangerous and immoral. In a bid to placate public opinion, every time his government agrees to free terrorists from prison, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu announces that he is approving another stage in a seemingly endless process of permitting Israeli Jews to build homes in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria. At this point, few in Israel are won over by Netanyahu’s largely hollow, transparently opportunistic gesture.
But whereas few Israelis are convinced Netanyahu is sincere, internationally his action has the egregious effect of reinforcing the deeply hostile and widely held perception that there is moral equivalence between murdering Jews and permitting Jews to live near Arabs. Netanyahu’s political pandering is counterproductive.
But on Sunday the government took what may be the first productive action that Israel has taken toward the Palestinians since the onset of the phony peace process 20 years ago. On Sunday, the Ministerial Committee for Legislation approved a bill sponsored by Likud MK Miri Regev to apply Israeli law over the Jordan Valley.
The Jordan Valley protects Israel from invasion and other acts of aggression from the east. And since 1967, there has been a consensus among Israelis that the area must remain under Israel’s sovereign control in perpetuity. This position remains inarguable today in light of the PLO ’s refusal to recognize Israel’s right to exist.
Were Israel to transfer control over the Jordan Valley to the PLO , it would enable the Palestinians to collaborate with outside actors in the planning and execution of major acts of aggression against Israel. Safeguarding against such an eventuality by asserting Israel’s international legal right to sovereignty over the area is an eminently reasonable, and indeed required means of ensuring Israel’s long-term survivability.
On the face of it, it is the champions of Palestinian statehood, led by Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, who should be most in favor of applying Israeli sovereignty to the Jordan Valley. Only by doing so does the two-state solution Livni has staked her career on have a chance of producing peace.
But of course, Livni and her colleagues on the far Left don’t see things this way. She and her comrades responded with apoplectic fits of rage at the cabinet committee’s vote, saying that Israel would be to blame for destroying the peace process.
Livni and her friends, of course, had not a word of criticism for Abbas and his followers for their unlawful championing of terrorist mass murderers. She gave no indication that she views their continued support for Israel’s destruction as an obstacle to peace. Her wrath and that of her colleagues is reserved for Israeli elected officials who seek to safeguard Israel’s survival.
The media assures us that Netanyahu will bury the bill in governmental bureaucracy and proceed on course with further negotiations with the PLO , and further terrorist releases, in order to keep Kerry and Obama happy.
We must encourage the government to surprise the media.
Twenty years ago Israel crossed the Rubicon from strategic rationality into irrationality when we embraced the PLO and the chimerical twostate solution. This week’s cabinet decision was the first step in crossing back to the other side.
And we must work with our elected representatives to ensure that it is not an isolated event.