Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Rewarding the Hezbollah for Murdering Israeli Kidnapped Soldiers

Appeasements that No Chamberlain would have ever Considered:
Hero's Welcome for Grisly Killers

By P. David Hornik | 7/16/2008

Israel.s neighbors are gearing up for celebrations. For those Israelis who
still have the stamina to look, these events will again reveal the chasm
between Israel.s life-affirming Jewish-democratic culture and the
unchanging Middle Eastern jihad-and death-culture of its neighbors.

This week most of the Olmert government.s
live-terrorists-for-dead-soldiers swap with Hezbollah will be completed
including the freeing of Samir Kuntar and four other live, dangerous
Lebanese terrorists.

As part of a 1979 terror attack in the Israeli coastal town of Nahariya,
Kuntar shot dead 28-year-old Danny Haran in front of his 4-year-old
daughter Einat Haran, then drowned Danny Haran in the sea to confirm the
kill. Kuntar then smashed Einat Haran.s head on rocks and crushed her
skull with his rifle butt.

Yet Israeli analyst Jonathan Spyer noted that .the news of the planned
swap has been greeted with enthusiasm from politicians on both sides of
the [Lebanese] divide..

Against the Hezbollah-led, mostly Shiite bloc stands the March 14
Sunni-Druze-Christian bloc. Yet new Christian president Michel Suleiman
(whose affiliation vis-.-vis the two blocs is a matter of dispute) and
Sunni prime minister Fuad Saniora (considered anti-Hezbollah) are poised
to give Kuntar and the other four terrorists a state welcome today at
Beirut International Airport. Saniora said Hezbollah.s .success . in the
negotiations [with Israel] is a national success for the party and for the
struggle of the Lebanese because it secured national goals...

As for Druze leader and sharp Hezbollah-foe Walid Jumblatt, he's planning
to visit Kuntar (also Druze) and congratulate him on his return, which he
called a .national occasion.. Spyer reports that .other March 14 leaders
spoke in similarly glowing terms.. The Lebanese daily As-Safir reported
plans to make the day of the terrorists. return a national holiday.
Already today the road from the Israeli border to Sidon, and Kuntar's
hometown of Abey, are hung with banners.

Israeli Middle East scholar Barry Rubin notes that .no one in the
Arabic-speaking world will say a single negative word about Kuntar.s deed
or his being made a hero, despite a small liberal minority.s disgust..

Also set to be delivered to Hezbollah by Israel, along with the remains of
two hundred other Lebanese and Palestinian terrorists, are the remains of
a Palestinian woman terrorist named Dalal Mughrabi. The Jerusalem Post.s
Khaled Abu Toameh reported, however, that the Palestinian Authority had
asked Israel to hand over Mughrabi.s remains to the PA instead.

Azzam al-Ahmed, a senior Fatah official and close associate of PA
president Mahmoud Abbas, called Mughrabi .the first Palestinian woman to
carry out one of the most courageous operations in Israel. and said .we
want to turn Dalal.s funeral into a national wedding, a major celebration.
The operation she carried out off the shores of her hometown of Jaffa was
heroic and exemplary. She will always be remembered as a symbol for the
Palestinian women.s struggle..

What, then, did Dalal Mughrabi do? In what became known as the Coastal
Road massacre, on March 11, 1978.about a year before the attack Samir
Kuntar took part in.she led a group of eleven Palestinian terrorists who
landed in inflatable boats on a beach north of Tel Aviv, killed an
American photographer named Gail Rubin who was taking nature pictures
nearby, and hijacked a bus along the coastal highway.

After the Israeli army pursued the bus and finally stopped it, a gun
battle ensued between the soldiers and the terrorists during which the
terrorists shot passengers who tried to escape. Eventually Dalal Mughrabi
blew up the bus, which became a large firetrap, and the attack left
thirty-six Israeli civilians dead including thirteen children. Mughrabi
and the other terrorists were killed; seventy-one Israelis were wounded.

Toameh noted that .even if Israel refuse[d] to deliver Mughrabi.s remains
to the PA in Ramallah, Fatah officials said they were planning to hold big
celebrations throughout the West Bank to coincide with her funeral in
Lebanon.. Since its inception, the PA has honored Mughrabi by naming many
schools and various institutions after her. An article published in
Thursday.s edition of the PA-funded Al-Hayat Al-Jadedda newspaper hailed
Mughrabi as a .living legend and a wonderful example for all women...

It.s not a pretty picture, especially considering that Lebanon.s March 14
bloc and the Palestinian Authority are considered moderate or relatively
moderate the former case with some justice, in the latter with
none. Even among the relative geopolitical moderates, let alone the rest,
toward Israel a tribal ethos prevails that regards grisly killers.alive or heroes for emulation. It.s a reality that Israelis and those
wishing to help Israel need to face fully and without evasions.


Hizbullah's triumph

Jul. 15, 2008
On June 29, 2008, the Israeli Cabinet approved a prisoner exchange with
the Lebanese Shi'ite terrorist organization Hizbullah. The deal includes
the return of the bodies of Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev, two Israeli
soldiers unlawfully kidnapped on the eve of the Second Lebanon War (2006).
Goldwasser and Regev were held thereafter in violation of the
unanimously-approved UN Security Council Resolution 1701, which called for
their unconditional release.

The exchange will provide the Goldwasser and Regev families with much
needed closure after an agonizing two-year wait during which Hizbullah,
contrary to international law, refused to provide information on the
health of the soldiers to either their families or to the International
Committee of the Red Cross. While the return of the soldiers, regardless
of their condition, fulfills an important central value of Israeli society
- that the State of Israel will do its utmost to recover soldiers behind
enemy lines - nonetheless it poses serious questions that must be
addressed before such exchanges are considered in the future.

UNDER THE terms of the exchange, Israel will receive:

The bodies of IDF soldiers Goldwasser and Regev, who were killed by the
same terrorist organization that is now marketing their cadavers.

A Hizbullah "report" on the disappearance of Israel Air Force navigator
Ron Arad, whose plane was shot down over Lebanon in 1986. Israel is said
to be dissatisfied with the contents of the report because it does not
provide any new information on Arad's fate.

The remaining body parts of IDF soldiers killed in the Second Lebanon War.
This is a speculative endeavor at best, given Hizbullah's ghoulish
practice of gathering Israeli body parts to use as bargaining chips.

In return, Israel has undertaken to:

Release four captured Hizbullah terrorists and the bodies of dozens of
infiltrators and terrorists including eight members of Hizbullah.

Release Lebanese terrorist Samir Kuntar who was serving four life
sentences for the cold-blooded murder of four Israelis in the coastal town
of Nahariya in 1979. As a reflection of the specific horror of Kuntar's
crimes, Israel refused to release him for decades, despite repeated
demands to do so.

Deliver information, if it has any, on four Iranian diplomats who went
missing at the hands of a Lebanese Christian militia in Beirut during the
1982 Lebanon War.
nRelease an unspecified number of Palestinian terrorists after the
implementation of the deal.

PRISONER EXCHANGE is not a new phenomenon. It has been practiced by
warring states for centuries. In the modern age these arrangements are
governed by international humanitarian law as detailed in the III Geneva
Convention (1949) and Article 133 of the IV Geneva Convention (1949).
Within this framework the approach to prisoner exchanges is clear. At the
end of a conflict the states implement an exchange of captured soldiers -
each state returning the soldiers it captured. In the interim, the
captured soldiers are entitled to the status of Prisoners of War (POWs),
and each state must provide the POWs with adequate facilities and care as
well as communication with the outside world.

For the first few decades of its existence, Israel made exchanges with its
Arab enemies of the sort contemplated by the Geneva Conventions following
the cessation of each war. For example, during the 1948 War of
Independence a total of 882 Israelis were captured by the various Arab
forces and Israel captured a total of 6,344 Arab fighters. Through the
process of negotiation, nearly all captured POWs on both sides were

However, the rules of the game have since changed. In particular, Israel's
enemies have mutated from using national armies as their principal modus
operandi to using proxy guerrilla organizations such as the Iranian-proxy
group Hizbullah. These surrogate organizations operate outside the legal
framework of the laws of war - routinely committing war crimes such as
indiscriminate attacks (the deliberate targeting of civilians as such) and
perfidy (disguising combatants as protected individuals such as

The extra-legal behavior of the proxy organizations has two implications
for the law applying to prisoners taken in Arab-Israeli conflicts. On the
one hand, the organizations themselves illegally defy the laws of war by
depriving Israeli POWs of their protected rights such as the right to
contact Red Cross representatives and communicate with their families. On
the other hand, the organizations' fighters are unlawful combatants who
are not entitled to the protected status of POWs, and are subject to
prosecution as war criminals. Indeed, these organizations fall under the
definition of terrorist groups under such instruments as the International
Convention for the Suppression of Terrorist Bombings, and Israel - like
other states - is legally obliged to take a variety of steps to foil the
terrorists' activities and bring them to justice.

By exchanging prisoners with the proxy organizations as if they were
law-abiding states, Israel can be seen as upgrading the status of the
organizations' unlawful combatants from terrorists and war criminals,
giving them the same rights as lawful soldiers, without demanding from
them the reciprocal obligations. At the same time, Israel downgrades the
rights of its own captured soldiers by overlooking the organizations'
systematic depravation of POW rights for Israeli soldiers under the Geneva
Conventions. The damage this does to both international law and the
international criminal justice system is considerable.

Contemporaneously, out of a sense of moral obligation to its kidnapped
soldiers and their grief-stricken families, successive Israeli governments
have negotiated deals in which Israel released large numbers of unlawful
combatants (terrorists) in return for a few living soldiers, several
cadavers, or even body parts. An early example was the Jabril deal of 1985
in which 1,150 convicted terrorists were exchanged for three Israeli
soldiers. This disproportionate ratio is not just a matter of numbers but
also a discrepancy of kind - the released Palestinian and Lebanese
terrorists are war criminals, while the Israelis are lawful combatants who
are entitled to POW status if captured, or civilians immune from
kidnapping altogether. International law entitles, and perhaps even
requires, Israel to put on trial and punish captured terrorists once they
are convicted. Because Israel eschews the death penalty, Israel keeps
terrorists alive in Israeli custody and thereby inadvertently creates a
"bait" situation where terrorist groups attempt to free their men by
ransoming newly-kidnapped Israelis.

AN INTERESTING parallel to Israel's dilemma under international law can be
found in Jewish law. Regrettably, the ransoming of captives is not a new
problem for the Jewish people. Over the ages, there are countless examples
of Jewish prisoners held for ransom. Perhaps the best known example is
that of Rabbi Meir of Rothenburg (1215-1293 CE) who, having been
imprisoned by Holy Roman Emperor Rudolph I, instructed the Jewish
community not to pay the high ransom demanded for his release in the
belief that acquiescence to the ransom would encourage the kidnap of
additional prominent Jews. Rabbi Meir ultimately died in prison. His
remains were retrieved some years later by a wealthy Jewish individual
prepared to meet the ransom payment. Had he been alive, Rabbi Meir may
well have rejected the kindness of this individual, viewing the issue as a
matter of principle.

Rabbi Meir's approach has its source in the Mishna which rules that one
does not ransom captives for more than their value because of Tikkun Olam.
The Talmud disputes the rationale for the Mishna's stipulation. One view
is that it is intended to prevent the impoverishment of the Jewish
community which would otherwise make extortionate ransom payments; the
other is to avoid providing an incentive to the kidnappers to continue in
their ways. Both Maimonides and the Shulhan Aruh adopt the second
rationale. While both maintain that there is no greater mitzva than the
redemption of captives, ultimately, public security considerations take
precedence when evaluating whether to pay a ransom. Interestingly, Tosafot
maintain that where there is a danger to life, captives may be redeemed
for more than their value, but this position has not been codified.

APPLICATION OF Jewish law to contemporary prisoner exchanges is not
straightforward. Two questions are particularly difficult to resolve. The
first is how to establish the value of a captured soldier. The second,
related question is how to apply Jewish law where the ransom payment
consists of convicted terrorists instead of financial capital. In
classical times, the question of value could readily be resolved by resort
to the slave market or the market rate for the ransom of non-Jewish
captives, but the question today is obviously far more complex.

Moreover, as the payment consists of convicted terrorists, the state must
engage in an unenviable balancing act, weighing the rights of the
individual against the security needs of the country. What is clear,
however, is that as a general rule, captives should not be redeemed for
more than their value if it is reasonably believed that paying the ransom
will increase kidnappings and thereby pose a threat to the public. In
fact, former Israel Defense Forces Chief Rabbi Shlomo Goren was opposed to
lopsided prisoner exchanges, noting that the safety of one or a few Jews
in captivity does not take precedence over the safety of the entire

A growing number of senior defense and security experts, including the
heads of the Mossad and the Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet), believe
that the "more than fair value" test has once again proven relevant. As
Israelis lacking any family or other connection to the Goldwasser/Regev
families, we are convinced that the current skewed deal threatens the
public interest, undermines Israel's ability to defend its legal rights
and carry out its legal duties, and could threaten Israel's strategic
objectives. The optimal position, of course, is to rely on military action
to free captured soldiers and/or civilians as in the famous Entebbe
rescue. If such a rescue is not a viable option, any negotiations should
be conducted within the context of national security objectives.

WHEN ISRAEL makes exchanges that are unequal, it is only natural for
Israel's enemies to view the illegal kidnapping of Israeli civilians and
soldiers, and the violation of their legal rights in captivity, as an
extremely profitable activity. These exchanges present Israel as willing
to concede all its legal rights and to accommodate any and all demands of
terrorist organizations. Additionally, by bestowing undeserved largesse
upon terrorist groups like Hizbullah, these exchanges strengthen that
group's leverage as a political actor in the Arab and Muslim worlds, and
enhance its support on the Arab street. Hizbullah has been able to
successfully negotiate the release of a celebrated Lebanese terrorist,
extract information on four missing Iranian diplomats, and secure the
release of an unspecified number of Palestinian prisoners.

The Goldwasser/Regev deal - as a deviation from the Geneva Conventions
model - discourages compliance with international humanitarian law, harms
Israeli deterrence, encourages future kidnappings, and endangers the lives
of those who may be taken hostage by Hizbullah or another terrorist group.
The value Israel places on a single life is laudable, but its translation
into a policy of capitulation to terrorist kidnappers' demands magnifies
the already grossly inflated price of prisoner exchanges. For terrorist
organizations, kidnapped Israeli soldiers and civilians are valuable and
relatively cheaply-acquired bargaining chips to bring home their
terrorists imprisoned in Israeli jails. As Yoram Shachar, the brother of
policeman Eliahu Shachar who was murdered in a terrorist attack involving
Kuntar, said: "The release today is the kidnapping of tomorrow."

Moreover, given that Israel has traded hundreds of terrorists for Israeli
bodies and even body parts, there is very little incentive for the
terrorists to uphold any sort of humanitarian standards in their treatment
of kidnapped Israeli soldiers or civilians or, for that matter, to keep
them alive at all. Indeed, Dr. Boaz Ganor, the Executive Director of the
International Institute for Counter-Terrorism at the Herzliya
Interdisciplinary Center, has noted that Israel should never have agreed
to trade captured terrorists for dead IDF soldiers because it undermines
any motivation to feed, guard, medically treat, or otherwise do whatever
is necessary to keep future Israeli captives alive and well.

In this context, it should be recalled that the Goldwasser/Regev deal does
nothing for other Israeli soldiers missing in action including Rahamim
Alsheikh, Yosef Fink, and Zachary Baumel, who disappeared in the 1982
Lebanon War. Perhaps knowledge of their whereabouts is part of Hizbullah's
strategic reserve of "reports" and body parts to be utilized at some later
date to liberate additional terrorist murderers from well-deserved
imprisonment. By using so much of its leverage to close the
Goldwasser/Regev deal, Israel's future ability to release other Israeli
prisoners is sharply diminished.

Israel's capitulation in the Goldwasser/Regev deal makes the terrorist
organizations appear strong and successful and, thus, encourages
additional support, recruitment, and donations to the organizations. This
is not something new. Some analysts say the first intifada was the direct
result of the Jabril deal. The return of more than 1,000 terrorists proved
and augmented the strength and effectiveness of the Popular Front for the
Liberation of Palestine - General Command and enabled freed Palestinian
terrorists to carry out key roles in the protracted violent uprising
against Israel.

The Tennenbaum deal between Israel and Hizbullah in 2003, where Israel
freed more than 400 terrorists and other criminals and nearly 60 Lebanese
bodies in exchange for three corpses and an Israeli drug dealer, continued
the damaging trend. In its wake, support for Hizbullah skyrocketed. It is
widely believed in Israel's security echelon that the Tennenbaum exchange
elevated the prestige of Hizbullah in Lebanon. Hizbullah then kidnapped
two additional IDF soldiers, an event that triggered the Second Lebanon
War. Taking and ransoming Israeli hostages is becoming a never-ending
cycle, and Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Hizbullah, and other groups are likely
developing plans to take new hostages.

In addition, releasing convicted terrorists undermines the criminal
justice system. Simply put, it is unjust to release individuals who have
committed serious crimes before they have served their sentences. Surely,
Israel would not release a convicted Israeli mafia murderer if his
relatives took other civilians hostage. In addition, such releases are
likely to provide comfort to terrorists planning future attacks, who can
hope that if caught and convicted they will one day be exchanged for
kidnapped Israelis.

FINALLY, THE most troubling, long-term consequence of such exchanges is
the fact that many of the terrorists released return to committing
terrorism and related offences. According to the Almagor Terror Victims
Association, 854 of the 6,912 Palestinian terrorists released in
confidence-building measures between 1993 and 1999 were subsequently
arrested for acts of murder and terrorism (as of August 2003). In fact, 80
percent of the terrorists released committed criminal offences related to
terrorism, "whether as commanders, planners, or murderers." Since the year
2000, 180 Israelis have been murdered by terrorists who had been released
from Israeli jails. These statistics do not account for the hundreds more
who were injured by these same recidivists.

The Almagor investigation provides a number of examples including:

.Abbas ibn Muhammad Alsayd, who after being released in 1996 was involved
in the perpetration of three attacks in Netanya including the Park Hotel
Passover attack on March 27, 2002, in which 30 people were murdered and
155 wounded.

.Iyad Sawalha, who was released pursuant to the Wye Agreement in 1998 and
was responsible for the June 5, 2002, bus bombing at the Megiddo junction,
murdering 17 people and wounding 42.

.Ramez Sali Abu Salmim, who detonated himself in Jerusalem's Caf. Hillel
on September 9, 2003, just seven months after his release, murdering seven
people and wounding over 50.33

THE LONG-STANDING policy of successive Israeli governments, which have
succumbed to high ransom payments to secure the release of kidnapped
Israeli soldiers (or their bodies) with the release of hundreds of
terrorists, is contrary to Israel's international law rights and
responsibilities. The Israeli government has appointed a committee to
develop new guidelines for establishing more favorable terms on which to
negotiate any future ransoms. The committee includes such prominent
individuals as Asa Kasher, an Israel Prize-winning ethicist and Tel Aviv
University law professor who wrote the IDF Code of Conduct, retired
president of the Supreme Court Meir Shamgar, and Maj.-Gen. (res.) Amos
Yaron. These guidelines should send a signal to Israel's enemies that
prisoner exchanges will hereafter be balanced in a manner that is more
sensitive to international law as well as to Israeli strategic

In a similar vein, it would be worthwhile to consider implementing a
waiver scheme by which Israeli soldiers could voluntarily relinquish their
"right" to be brought home via extortionate exchanges. The model for this
could be the release that Israeli parents with a single child are required
to sign before he/she can serve in a combat unit.

The status quo for prisoner exchanges harms Israeli deterrence, creates an
appalling precedent that encourages further kidnappings, increases the
possibility that our captured soldiers will be mistreated or even murdered
in custody, and rewards imprisoned terrorists by releasing them early to
claim new victims. The Hizbullah and Hamas terrorists have a good thing
going. This humiliation must stop.

Dr. Justus Reid Weiner is an international human rights lawyer and a
member of the Israel and New York Bar Associations. He is currently a
Scholar in Residence at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, and an
adjunct lecturer at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Diane Morrison, Adv., is an Israeli-qualified lawyer, having served her
clerkship at Herzog, Fox and Neeman. She will be pursuing a Masters in
International Legal Studies at New York University in the Fall of 2008.

The authors appreciate the efforts of Rafi Brass and Benjamin Fisher for
their contributions to this article. This study, provided by the Jerusalem
Center for Publish Affairs, is a product of the Global Law Forum,
sponsored by the Legacy Heritage Fund

Reprint from 2004:

Today I am ashamed to be an Israeli
By Steven Plaut January 29, 2004

I have spent most of the past 12 years being ashamed to be an Israeli.
Israeli governments made me ashamed, and they did so by abasing,
disgracing and humiliating me as a Jew and as an Israeli.

I have been ashamed for 12 years at being an Israeli because this was the
period in which the governments of Israel abandoned the struggle for
Jewish national survival. They stopped trying to defend me and all other
Jews. They lectured me that it was my fault that the Arab fascists were
attacking Jews, and that it was within my power to stop the carnage if
only I would agree to demean myself sufficiently, to grovel before the
terrorists of the Middle East, and to appease the anti-Semites. I could
achieve peace if I would agree to place my neck in an Arab noose, but if I
refuse to do so then I would be the impediment to peace and my obstinacy
would be to blame for all further carnage.

For 12 years, my government pursued a policy of defending me and my family
by abandoning all attempts to defend us. My government decided to pursue
peace by pretending that war did not exist. After two millennia of
anti-Semitism, my government decided that anti-Semitism does not REALLY
exist, and that when people randomly murder Jewish children it is because
they have some legitimate grievances, because they have suffered, and
because Jews have shown them insufficient sensitivity.

My government implemented policies based on the presumption that the
making of concessions to blood-thirsty terrorists would be rewarded with
moderation and goodwill, that importing armed Nazis into the suburbs of
Tel Aviv and
Jerusalem would cause them to seek peace. My government followed policies
based on the notion that the Jews were evil, insensitive, and selfish. My
government decided that if Jews would only "share" their land and
resources with those who rule the entire territory from the Atlantic Ocean
to Central Asia, that is, with those who refuse to agree to any "sharing"
that allows a Jewish state to exist anywhere in the Middle East, then
there would be peace.

My government decided that rewarding terrorists for violence would end
violence, and then told me that there was simply no alternative to
coddling terrorists and nazis.

My government pursued peace by pretending that war did
not exist. My government sought peace through arming and bankrolling
terrorists. My government decided that anti-Semitism can only be overcome
by redressing the "underlying grievances" that it reflects. My government
fought terrorism by not fighting it, and by trying to appease it. My
government insisted that I must coddle anti-Semites and terrorists, and
must pander to their agenda and desires for there is no other choice.

My government over the past 12 years preached to me that it was my own
pride and my parochial patriotism that was the obstacle to peace. It told
me I must seek peace through self-abasement and self-humiliation. My
government told me that if I would show willingness to compromise, then so
would the Arabs.

My government has been wrong about everything, but refuses to admit it has
been wrong about anything.

My government decided that Palestinians are a "nation" and that chunks of
my Jewish lands were in fact "Palestinian lands". My government decided
that Arabs may freely live any place they wish anywhere in the land of
Israel, but I may not live freely where I might choose if it happens to be
across the "Green Line." My government instituted discrimination against
me and against other Jews in the name of "affirmative action", quotas and
preferences for Arabs and directed against me.

My government fought for my survival through cowardice and endless
"restraint", turning my other cheek against my will, pursuing endless
"goodwill gestures", which only enflamed the violence.

It did so despite the fact that I and my fellow Israeli citizens voted
repeatedly to revoke the "Oslo approach" and voted in favor of pursuing
war against our enemies, not appeasement. My government abandoned all of
northern Israel to the mercies of the Hizbollah rockets, now aimed at me
in the thousands. My government abandoned the Jewish
towns near the Gaza Strip to rocket barrages from the PLO.

I have spent the past 12 years cringing in shame. My government made me
feel that way. But I have NEVER felt as ashamed at being an Israeli as I
did this week, when my government decided to reward the Hizbollah for
murdering three of my fellow citizens in cold blood. My government also
abandoned Ron Arad, releasing his kidnapper, rewarding the terrorists who
kidnapped him, who "sold" him to Iran and possibly murdered him.

My government decided to release nearly 450 murderers with blood on their
hands in order to "buy" the release of the carcasses of three of my fellow
citizens who were murdered by Hizbullah after they had been kidnapped by
it. My government had abandoned southern Lebanon to Hizbullah and assured
me there would be complete tranquility thereafter. After the farcical
Israeli "withdrawal" ordered by my government, Hizbullah has fired almost
daily into Israel, has sent in terrorists who murdered Israeli civilians,
and snatched the three soldiers (two Jews and one Bedouin Arab) whose
bodies were released this week, after murdering them in cold blood.

Last week the Hizbollah murdered one more sodier working a bulldozer; in
response my government punished some empty Hizbollah buildings. The
prisoner "deal" was possible only because my government refuses to execute
the murdering savages, the terrorists. My government thinks capital
punishment is inhumane, and its absence has made possible the murders of
1300 of my fellow countrymen. That is like twenty-two September 11ths when
measured proportional to our population.

Hizbullah also held as prisoner a man who had entered Lebanon for criminal
purposes, possibly a drug deal to pay off his gambling debts. I opposed
releasing any terrorists to get him released.

I might have considered agreeing to release a handful as payment to
Hizbullah to keep him imprisoned there, if he is indeed a drug smuggler.

My government decided to respond to the murders of the three POWs by
rewarding their murderers, not by converting three Hizbullah towns into
large parking lots, not by bathing the Hizbullah leaders in napalm. My
government signaled to all my fellow citizens that it was unwilling to
avenge our deaths. My government let every Israeli soldier know that his
life would be worthless if captured by the enemy because my government
would always seek "deals" with those who murder POWs. My government made
it known that by grabbing some Israelis as hostages, anyone could obtain
any concession they want from my country. My government also let every
soldier know that, if captured in war, he would be abandoned to his fate
by my government. My government agreed to this "deal" with the Hizbollah,
a deal that spit on the family of missing Israeli airman Ron Arad. The man
who kidnapped and "sold" Arad has been released by my government as
payment for the release of the common criminal.

My government is trying to cover its shame by boasting that it "held out
tough" and refused to release the baby-murdering terrorist Samir Kuntar,
the man who murdered the members of the Haran family in Nahariya. My same
government boasts that it would have released this arch-murderer had the
Hizbollah so much as told Israel where Ron Arad (or his grave) is.

So much for "standing tough".

My government is a disgrace. My government practices cowardice and
pretends it is courage. My government displays indifference to the
Israelis who will now be murdered by those released terrorists and
murderers. My government had the gall to pretend it was acting out of
compassion and morality when it signed this capitulation, when it placed
that smirk on the face of the Hizbollah chief terrorist, boasting of his
victory. To drive home the point that the "deal" proves to the world that
the Jews are on the run, the terrorists blew up a bus in Jerusalem, the
same Jerusalem they pretend is holy to them, as part of celebrating the
stampede of Jewish flight. After all, the Hizbullah was being rewarded for
terror, so why should not the Palestinians follow their lead in obtaining
Israeli surrender?

The bus atrocity in Jerusalem was carried out by the "Al Aqsa Martyrs
Brigades," a PLO terror group under the direct command and control of
Yassir Arafat.

My government pretended it was suddenly acting out of Jewish ethical
values. My government would not know a Jewish ethical value if it popped
up in its face. My government pretends there is a "Part B" to this
capitulation, in which information about Ron Arad will be released. I do
not belive them. I think my government is lying to window-dress this act
of cowardice.

As I watch the victory smile on the mug of the Hizbollah Chief Terrorist,
my own government makes me cringe. My government makes me ashamed of being
an Israeli.

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