Wednesday, April 08, 2009

8-Apr-09: An especially apt time to cherish freedom

As the Jewish world makes its last-minute preparations to honour and commemorate our national festival of freedom, we received a timely personal reminder yesterday of how our own child's freedom was stolen by a terrorist group's calculated act of mass-murder.

On Tuesday, here in Jerusalem, the local Magistrates Court considered a compensation claim by the family of our teenage daughter's murderer. Fortunately we were completely unaware of it.

Izz a-Din al-Masri was a religious fanatic from a well-to-do Palestinian Arab family. A guitar case on his back filled with explosives and nails, he was brought into the center of Jerusalem by a well-organized gang arranged by the Hamas jihadists. When he went to his 72 virgins on 9th August 2001 on the premises of the Sbarro restaurant that used to be in the center of Israel's capital city, he took fifteen lives - most of them Jewish children and Jewish women, which was precisely (and remains precisely) the Hamas plan. More than 130 other innocent victims were maimed and wounded by this savage act of "freedom" and "national self-determination".

This being a free and democratic society, the family of the Hamas jihadist sued the state of Israel for damages after their house, which was used by their son to prepare for the massacre at Sbarro, was demolished by judicial order. Media reports said they claim the house was destroyed in a negligent manner.

It's reported (but not widely) that the presiding judge, Yoel Tzur, held the demolition of the al-Masri home was "an appropriate and legal response to the murderous attack. Under wartime laws, including those laws accepted by the international community, a country may demolish property in order to deter attacks... Israel's destruction of terrorists' property can be defined as a method of deterrence".

As to whether the house was destroyed in a negligent manner, the court found that the army took extra precautions and had carried out a "dry run" of the demolition ahead of the real event to ensure the process would run smoothly. The court held that the jihadist's family was given plenty of time to remove their belongings from the building, and rejected their claim for compensation.

We want to point out here that a woman called Ahlam Tamimi, who is serving multiple life-sentences for her role in the Sbarro massacre and in the killing our 15 year-old daughter Malki, is at the top of the Hamas list of "women and children" terrorists that was said to be accepted by the recently-replaced Olmert government in the context of a deal to free Gilad Shalit. There is a very real likelihood that she will soon be free. Hamas has held the young Israeli hostage for the past 1,000 days as a lever to get their jihadists out of Israeli prisons... and back into the cafes, buses and playgrounds of Israeli society where they can again advance the principles of savagery and hatred-driven murder.

Given the amount of widespread confusion and disinformation about terrorists and their agendas, this week's denial of monetary damages to the al-Masris and the continued incarceration of the mass murderer Tamimi are likely to continue to appear on Israel-bashing lists of Israeli "human rights offences".

When we sit down to the festive seder meal tonight, we will be remembering the Jewish people's long struggle for freedom, and the traditional Jewish values that underpin both that struggle and the nation-state that they eventually enabled to be re-established.

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