Monday, October 17, 2011
The Netanyahu Capitulation
By Steven Plaut
"Those released will return to armed struggle. It is a great national
achievement." Khaled Mashal, Chairman, Hamas Political Bureau,
I think that the best definition of leadership is where a political
leader is willing to resist populist pressure to do "popular" things
whenever those "popular" things are harmful. A real leader is someone
capable of resisting the temptation to act as demagogue and play to
In the massive release of mass murderers about to take place (I am
writing this just before it goes ahead) to "buy" back from the Hamas
terrorists Israel's kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit, Bibi Netanyahu has
revealed himself to be the very opposite of a leader. He is a cheap
demagogue playing to the crowd for transient popularity. And the
people of Israel will pay the price for his theatrics.
The release of the Palestinian mass murderers is popular in Israel at
the moment, according to public opinion surveys. Netanyahu has a long
track record of doing whatever the caprices of the public happen to
favor at the moment. So I suppose in some ways it was not surprising
that he agreed to this atrocity. A man who does not have the backbone
to stare down and dismiss summer Woodstock-on-the-Yarkon "social
justice" protesters cannot be expected to resist the passionate
Israeli public desire to see Gilad Shalit released.
The release of the murderers is fleetingly popular this week.
Negotiating with Palestinians is also generally popular in Israel. So
are price controls on housing and raising the minimum wage. So is
(depending on wording of question) creating a Palestinian state.
Being a leader means refusing to create disasters just because the
public this week happens to feel that it is a nice idea to create
There is a general and deeply-felt desire for Shalit's release among
all Israelis. The media have kept the plight of his family in the
headlines for five years. Shalit has been in captivity for longer
than the US soldiers who survived the Bataan death march in the
Philippines or British troops captured in Hong Kong and Singapore.
But it is now clear that the main effect of the organizations in
Israel drumming up support for "Let's get Shalit Released," and "We
demand Shalit's Freedom," was to increase the number of murderers
released in the exchange, from a couple of hundred to over a thousand.
It was obvious all along that the protests "on behalf of Gilad" had
no effect whatsoever on the Hamas other than persuading it to hold out
longer for greater and greater levels of appeasement. The protests
simply weakened the resolve of the already weak Israeli political
leadership to resist the extortion.
The first of the atrocious massive releases of terrorists by Israel
took place in 1985, when the National Unity Government of the Labor
Party and Likud released terrorists in the "Ahmed Jibril Deal," to the
PFLP terrorist leader Jibril. Shimon Peres was the Prime Minister at
the time (what a surprise!). 1150 prisoners were released in exchange
for three Israeli POWs, who had been captured during the first
Lebanese War. Many of the terrorists released resumed their careers
in terrorism and led the "First Intifada."
That moronic "deal" served as precedent. Thereafter Israel paid in
the currency of murderers in every "deal" in which captive Israelis
were taken, and even in exchange for the release of the corpses of
Israeli soldiers murdered by the terrorists. The massive release of
murderers naturally always served as incentive for the terrorists to
kidnap more Israelis. There is some serious doubt as to whether
Shalit would have been kidnapped in the first place had it not been
for those precedents.
In those repeated wholesale releases of terrorists, Israel always
attempted to maintain a figleaf of self-respect, setting some limits
on who could be released. There was Israeli reluctance to releasing
murderers of children, or those who had actually pulled the triggers
in killing civilians, or those involved in suicide bombings.
The Netanyahu capitulation has at long last put an end to all
pretense. The very worst mass murderers of children and civilians are
about to be released. The litany of their crimes is too long and
horrendous to be reproduced here. You can see more details here:
But they involve those who murdered multiple members of the same
families, those who placed bombs in the Jerusalem Sbarro pizza
restaurant murdering children, those who lured a 15 year old boy into
the West Bank with internet flirting and murdered him, and too many
other murders. Some of the atrocities sound more like events that
took place in Nazi-conquered Europe than in the independent Jewish
state. A surviving member of the family destroyed in the Sbarro
attack is in the news this week for having vandalized the grave this
week of Yitzhak Rabin, whom he blames for the murders of his family
and the release of the murderers. (See
As in all cases of mind-numbing stupidity being perpetrated by
Israel's government, Netanyahu came in right on cue and defended the
capitulation on grounds of "What choice was there?" Whenever Israeli
politicians choose the stupidest choice possible, they always insist
there is no other choice.
What choice was there? The choice was not to agree to the
capitulation. Just say no.
Of the terrorists released, many will revert to their careers of
murder, as did so many released terrorists before them. They will be
celebrated by the barbarians as heroes and role models. It should not
take long before the cost of saving the life of one Jew will turn out
to be the deaths of many Jews. The deal is popular because the
Israeli public is familiar with the faces of Gilad Shalit and his
family. The people who will now be murdered or kidnapped by the
terrorists newly inspired by the capitulation do not have faces. Nor
do THEIR families. Yet.
It was clear all along that there were other ways in which Israel and
its government could have dealt with the Shalit kidnapping and
captivity. Israel could have assassinated 30 terrorists a day and
announce that the targeting would continue every day until Shalit was
released. Or Israel could have kidnapped the family members of Hamas
leaders and held THEM in captivity until Shalit was free. Or Israel
could have executed 30 imprisoned terrorists inside Israeli prison
Better yet, Israel could have eliminated the terrorist "bait" that
drives kidnapping in the first place -- by executing terrorists. No
one has ever been murdered by a terrorist who has already been
executed. Every time anyone brings up the idea of capital punishment
for terrorism, Israel's politicians wring their hands and whine about
how "unethical" it is, how it violates Jewish ethics. All this coming
from politicians who do not have the slightest idea of what Jewish
ethics has to say about anything. Suffice it to say that capital
punishment is as fundamentally grounded in Torah and Jewish ethics as
are bans on incest and adultery. Jewish ethics explicitly prohibits
abandoning other randomly chosen Jews to be killed in order to obtain
the release of one Jew being threatened.
Netanyahu and his team may soon be learning how ephemeral "popularity"
is and how capricious the throng can be. It may not take long for
the Netanyahu cowardice to reap what it has sown, in the form of
busses exploding on Israeli streets or suicide bombing attacks on
Israeli restaurants. And those victims of Netanyahu's capitulation
will have faces and families.