Friday, October 14, 2011

14-Oct-11: "It's devastating. She's got a life that's being handed back to her as a result of this transaction."

Australia's ABC interviewed Arnold Roth shortly after the announcement of the terrorist release transaction. The transcript follows:
The video segment itself is here

TONY JONES, PRESENTER: Israel's prisoner exchange with the Palestinian militant group Hamas could face a legal challenge.

Israel has agreed to free more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners in return to the release of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, who was captured by Hamas five years ago.

The deal has been widely welcomed, but some Israelis who have lost relatives in suicide attacks say they feel betrayed, and they're considering an appeal to Israel's Supreme Court.

Middle East correspondent Anne Barker reports.

ANNE BARKER, REPORTER: Arnold Roth lost his daughter Malka in a suicide bombing ten years ago. The 15-year-old was killed in an attack on a pizza restaurant in central Jerusalem.

ARNOLD ROTH, FATHER OF MALKA ROTH: The young man in question, who is now of course dead, had brought a bomb inside a guitar case so that everyone who would have looked at him, including my daughter who is a musician, would have thought: here is a man who knows music.

ANNE BARKER: 15 people were killed that day at the Sbarro restaurant. 130 were wounded. The bomber might be dead, but Arnold Roth has had some comfort knowing the woman who helped mastermind the attack, Ahlam Tamimi, was jailed for life, but now she's likely to walk free within days.

ARNOLD ROTH: It's devastating. The person that you're referring to is a woman who's now 31 years old. She's got a life that's being handed back to her as a result of this transaction.

ANNE BARKER: In total, 1,000 men and 27 women prisoners are slated for release, even though hundreds of them are militants serving life sentences for murder or terror attacks. Even some Israeli cabinet ministers voted against the deal, warning it will send hundreds of hardcore terrorists back on to the streets; and for Arnold Roth it's just too high a price.

ARNOLD ROTH: Many hundreds of convicted murderers are going to be released for no other reason that the Government of Israel saw no alternative. Obviously, everyone in this country is delighted if this is going to produce a healthy and well Gilad Shalit, but that's not the whole deal - and the parts of the deal that involve allowing terrorists back on the streets is a recipe for a terrible outcome.

ANNE BARKER: One of those tipped to be freed is Ahlam Tamimi - the young woman who drove the bomber to Jerusalem's Sbarro restaurant. She was sentenced to more than 1,500 years in jail - the equivalent of 16 life terms, and she's never expressed remorse.

IFTIKHAR A'REF, SISTER (translated): I support what she did and any Palestinian would support her because they're the enemy, our occupiers, and they've killed our children.

ANNE BARKER: Ahlam Tamimi's own family believes she deserves to be freed.

IFTIKHAR A'REF (translated): I understand the Israelis' anger, but they have to understand our anger too. Ahlam killed 15 people but the Israelis have killed thousands of us.

ANNE BARKER: Once the names of the prisoners slated for release are made public by Sunday, Israel's Supreme Court will grant 48 hours for any Israeli to challenge the prisoner exchange. Arnold Roth isn't yet sure whether he'll lodge an appeal. The first 450 prisoners and Gilad Shalit are expected to be freed within a week.

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