Sunday, November 17, 2013

17-Nov-13: Is Washington going to make up its mind whether it sees the killers as freedom fighters or as terrorists?

Freed, unrepentant, convicted terrorists [Image Source]
Here in Israel, there's little doubt in the wake of the stunningly ineffective US strategy concerning Iran and its nuclear weaponization offensive that our country has much about which to worry from the plans being hatched in the State Department and the White House.

For this reason, and following the revelations that we posted here on Friday, we feel many of our readers will want to take another - perhaps closer - look at aspects of the US government's management of one particular issue: the relentless US pressure on Israel to release from its prisons more than a hundred convicted Palestinian Arab killers.

From where we are, we see this as a kind of microcosm of how the current US leadership views Israel and the Israeli public.

Under the title "Memo to Secretary of State Kerry: Your staff need some urgent guidance", we published here on this blog, on September 14, 2013, an open letter addressed to Secretary of State John Kerry. It was timed to reach him on the eve of a visit he made to Jerusalem that week. Writing in the name of Bereaved Families for Peace and Justice, a group in which we are active, we asked him to make time for an urgent meeting with us. The matters we wanted to discuss had been laid out in an earlier letter we delivered to him two months before that [it's here].

So far, no meeting has taken place. Nor has there been any direct response at all from Kerry or his official spokesteam or anyone in his entourage. Apart from polite messages from his ambassador in Tel Aviv, Dan Shapiro (for which we are grateful), our requests to be heard and to meet with him have been ignored.

We asked Kerry in our September letter to accept that the prisoner releases are a mistake on multiple levels
We informed Kerry that most of the Israelis and Americans whom we had asked about this during August and September had been surprised - even astonished - to know that his office appears to have a bizarre and unexpected view of how to characterize the slayers of elderly Holocaust survivors and murderers of American citizens who were released in the first of those tranches on August 13, 2013

That was the day an American journalist asked Marie Harf, the deputy spokesperson in the State Department, this straight-forward question:
Do you have any thoughts or position on whether these people who are going to be released [today] are political prisoners or are they terrorists?
Speaking as the designated State Department official spokesperson that day, in a formal press briefing, she said: 
I do not have a position on that.
We hoped that Kerry would find this hard to believe. We helpfully suggested that someone in his entourage ought to check out this video of the exchange between them. 

But despite our repeated and polite enquiries during and since August, right up until today, it appears to us that no one in the US administration is willing to admit that they have taken a position on this serious matter - at any rate, no one who was willing to speak to us, or for the record. 

Meanwhile, two tranches of 26 unrepentant terrorists - for a total of 52 killers - have already walked free. Exactly as we and others feared, they walked straight into a series of official Mahmoud Abbas-hosted PA receptions where they were despicably feted as heroes.

Our daughter, Malki Roth, was murdered by Palestinian Arab terrorists. This issue is not theoretical to us.

We want to know why the government of the United States is still unable to say whether it sees the murderers whom it demands be freed by Israel are "freedom fighters" and "political prisoners".

It's outrageous that, despite the lawful convictions that put them behind bars, despite the legitimate and considered sentences that would mean most of them will never get out of prison, the State Department of the United States of America is unable to answer simple questions about how they are viewed from Washington.

It's past time for this to be cleared up.


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