Friday, June 14, 2013

14-Jun-13: When the murderers go free, what does it really do to you?

Daoud Kattoub, the Palestinian Arab journalist and media ‘activist’ (also a professor of journalism at Princeton University at some point in the past) writes on the Al-Monitor website today [“Pre-OsloPrisoners Still Obstacle To Palestinian-Israeli Talks”] about the heart-tugging issue of convicted murderers outrageously forced to remain behind bars.

Wait. In some ways it’s not as mad as it sounds. But yes, it does sound quite insane if you’re not paying attention to the specific part of the world in which it’s being played out.

Kattoub writes of men who, having been sent on military missions by the leadership of Yasser Arafat’s blood-soaked PLO,  are now “rotting in jail” (Kattoub’s exact words) while promises allegedly made by various Israeli politicians to set them free “have not been fulfilled”. These are the so-called pre-Oslo prisoners, sometimes referred to in the ideologically-addled media as political prisoners. There are a total of 118 of them inside Israel’s prisons today. (Other people speak of larger numbers. We're right; they are not.)

The issue reverberates, as Kattoub shows. The president of Palestine, Mahmoud Abbas, 
“has rejected an Israeli offer to have 50 of the prisoners released. Abbas insists that all prisoners must be released as part of a US-brokered agreement to restart face-to-face peace talks.” [Al-Monitor]
A serious issue, it seems. Fifty is not enough. Only the entire 118 will satisfy whatever deep need Abbas is addressing. And until they are out of jail, there can be no talks, no negotiation, no peace with Israel. He can take this purportedly high road because
“prisoners held for a long time… are held in high esteem among Palestinians, as they have been paying such a high sacrifice for their nation.” [Al-Monitor]
Let's analyse this a little. 

The men whom Abbas has on his mind are from the group Kattoub disingenuously calls the “more moderate Fatah faction”, who “feel that they have suffered because of their party affiliation”. Not from Hamas. From Fatah, Abbas' group - the terrorists who report to him today.

Now in case the point slipped you by, almost all these 118 men are murderers; all convicted, all sentenced to lengthy murder-appropriate terms in prison. Kattoub knows this even while he conceals it from his readers. We looked carefully through the table of the 118 names, and their crimes, their victims and their details. It’s a sordid and ugly tabulation (the first-rate researchers at CAMERA published an English version of it here), with a not-insignificant number of the victims being fellow Arabs. 

But most are, of course, Jews, and out of the 118 prisoners in the tally, 112 killed someone. The remaining six tried to kill, and were convicted of attempted homicide. Political prisoners they are surely not, unless we have erased homicide from our justice system. And we have not.

But some people have. In an excellent overview on the CiF Watch site, published a week ago (see What the Media Won’t Tell You About ‘Palestinian Prisoners’), Adam Levick quotes Harriet Sherwood’s April 9, 2013 report in the Guardian (UK) in which she writes about the “political prisoners [Sherwood’s term] who have been in jail since before the Oslo accords were signed almost 20 years ago”. 

CiF Watch complained about this to The Guardian, demonstrating that all the still-incarcerated pre-Oslo prisoners were convicted of violence- and terrorism-based crimes. Sherwood’s report was revised after the fact (we didn't hear about any apology) to note that it is only the Palestinians who view them as “political prisoners”. Of course far fewer Guardian readers saw the editorial correction than read the original Harriet Sherwood outrage.

Now, in a simpler age and in other parts of the world, getting prisoners out of jail traditional involves demonstrating that the price has been paid, the lesson has been learned, justice has been served and it is time to forgive and forget.

A series of incomprehensibly large, even vast, prisoner releases made by Israel between 1985 and 2011 irrevocably changed all of that in this part of the world.

Today, no serious observer even pretends that prisoners should be let loose because they said sorry and promised not to do it again. At least, not when we’re speaking of Palestinian Arab prisoners who were put away because of acts of terror they inflicted on the despised and reviled Israelis. The template has been created and the Palestinian Arabs and the Islamic world behind them fully understand the new rules: that the Israeli prison system is filled with sons and daughters of this transcendent thing called ‘resistance’ and Israel needs to be (a) persuaded, (b) forced or (c) extorted to let them go free.

No one comprehends this better than the head of the PA, Mahmoud Abbas. Often described as a moderate, he is quite the opposite to anyone paying attention. As an important analysis today by Khaled Abu Toameh on the Gatestone Institute website shows ["The Palestinian Authority's Reign of Terror"], he is a doctrinaire manipulator of naked power, chiefly directed at the citizens he purports to lead. Abbas is in the ninth year of a four year term as president of a political entity that has no functioning parliament, and that - while bankrupt, deeply in debt and perpetually penniless - finances a governmental ‘reward for terrorism’ scheme that pays imprisoned murderers three or four times what it pays its own civil servants. That’s not the whole of it, but merely the beginning. We will come back to this.

The Abbas regime, currently pressing so hard for its veteran murderer/prisoners to be let loose by the Israelis, does a cracker-jack job of telling its own people why, and what it stands for. Here’s an illustration from the past month that appears in today’s edition of the always-valuable Palestinian Media Watch Bulletin.

Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik, writing for PMW, report on how the Mahmoud Abbas PA regime chose two ways in the past month of expressing honour and respect for a prisoner called Abdullah Barghouti. His is a name we know well; he built the bomb-inside-a-guitar-case that exploded in Jerusalem’s Sbarro restaurant on August 9, 2001. Among the fifteen people killed instantly was our much-loved teenage daughter, Malki. 130 others were maimed and shattered, but survived. One young woman was left unconscious, and remains unconscious until today. We have written about this particular prisoner here in our blog repeatedly.

The despicable Abdullah Barghouti, convicted on 67 separate counts of murder, was honoured first by means of an official “solidarity” visit to his family’s home. The PA Minister of Prisoners' Affairs, Issa Karake, led the honour parade, accompanied the District Governor of Ramallah, Laila Ghannam. Then the PA’s tightly controlled official television channel arrived and recorded a video homage to Barghouti, including interviews with proud family members.

This follows the well-documented but largely ignored PA policy of glorifying terrorists and turning them into role modelsPalestinian Media Watch has been in the forefront of documenting this for years. 
The program host stated that Barghouti, who prepared the bombs that killed 66 people, is "certainly a hero", and wished for the fulfillment of "the purpose for which [the prisoners] are in fact in the occupation's prisons." [PMW]

Unrepentant mass murderer Abdullah Barghouti:
Behind bars where he belongs, at least for now
The host directly addressed the father of the unrepentant mass murderer:
Father of Abdallah Barghouti, your son is certainly a hero. We all think so, Allah willing they will live lives of freedom soon. All their hopes and aspirations and the purpose for which they (i.e., the prisoners) are in fact in the occupation's prisons, Allah willing, will be fulfilled soon. [PMW]
Stop for a moment; where else but in the society being constructed by the Palestinian Arabs, would a man who deliberately murdered 67 innocent civilians get this kind of lavish media attention? And be met with silence and utter indifference by the media professionals who know about it - and keep it out of their reports?

The sons and daughters of Palestinian Arab society are being taught by their leaders and by their televisions that men and women like the psychopathic killers Abdullah Barghouti and Ahlam Tamimi are heroes. The actions that got them locked away are a source of pride on a scale literally inconceivable to people like us who live in democratic societies where law, order and justice mean something. 

So let’s clarify that when the Palestinian Arabs and their many apologists call for the release of the Barghoutis and the Tamimis, their calls are not for a pardon; if these killers of women and children had actually asked for a pardon, we would be in a new world, a different era. 

It’s not a pardon they are requesting. It’s release for the sake of political expediency. We really need you to do this, they say to Israel. We really, really have to have these murderers out again because, look, they represent everything that’s fine and great about the world we are building for our future generations. So just do it. 

And if you were thinking perhaps that all of this might somehow be leading to peace and therefore is worth the pain and the effort, consider this: "Peace talks useless: Palestine leaders / June 12, 2013".

We say this: In the name of everything decent and sane, the demands for cold-blooded, unrepentant killers to be let loose again must be answered with: that would be massively unjust and we refuse in the names of our families and of the children who continue to be your targets and theirs.

Now a few words about Norway

Not everyone who tries to obscure the true nature of Palestinian Arab society’s adoration of its baby-killers is Palestinian Arab. We wrote about this phenomenon here a few weeks back, after visiting Scandinavia [see "22-May-13: Asking Norway to face up to the lethal consequences of its funding decisions" and before that "14-Mar-13: Shock! Horror! Norwegian politicians awaken to discover they were played for fools by the terrorists"]. 

Norway is a country of generous people. It gives more than (by far) most other states in order to do good. That, at least, is the plan. The reality is they are a major financial enabler of the appalling 'rewards for terror' program of Mahmoud Abbas. Norwegian money - along with French, British, German and Belgian money, all of it coming from unwitting tax payers and aid budgets - provides the family of the unspeakable mass murderer mentioned above with a monthly salary four times the size of a PA government worker's pay. 

The European funding of Palestinian Arab terror is not at all new. Neither are the small and large lies that EU officials have been telling to their constituents, to the media and to themselves since at least 2002. Norway is now carrying out a long overdue self-examination to see who knew what and when. Their parliamentarians should be congratulated for being the first European government to do it, and parts of their media deserve full credit. They surely must not be allowed to be the last. 

The Norwegians and other European funders of child killing have been able to get away with a hypocritical embrace of terrorism for so long because so many others - and first among them, the members of the news media - have allowed it. Harriet Sherwood will surely not be the last to write about the unrepentant killers of innocents as 'political prisoners'. 

Those of us who can see where this leads have to ensure the people who make the political and editorial decisions know we are watching, that we will demand it stops, that we insist on respect for justice. Let the murderers remain in prison, and let those who seek to place them on a pedestal know of the revulsion the rest of us feel for their actions.

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