|The scene in Ramallah early this morning [Image Source: Getty]|
From a piece by Maher Abukhater in the Los Angeles Times [source]:
"Right-wing Israelis who consider the prisoners terrorists staged a sit-in outside the Old City residence of one of the Jerusalem prisoners"
The man from the LA Times doesn't feel obliged to take a position on this either; it's enough to brand those Israeli outraged by the injustice of criminals being freed by politicians as "right-wing". We happen to know many of the people who are outraged by what the freeing of convicted felons stands for. Calling them right-wing is prejudicial, inaccurate and cheap.
"Dozens of cars followed the buses through Ramallah to the presidential headquarters, where Abbas and other officials greeted the prisoners, shaking hands with each and kissing them on the cheek. Abbas described the event as "a happy day for all of us and for our heroic prisoners, who have come out today to freedom to live as free people, even though they were also free when in prison."What realistic prospect of peace, with the painful compromises that peace inevitably entails, can be expected from an aging and weak political figure like Abbas who kisses convicted murderers on the cheeks and calls them heroic? Many of the victims of the acts of murder for which they were tried, convicted and sentenced to lengthy prison terms, were fellow Arabs. Arab family members of those dead victims must have been seeing this on their living room TVs this morning. Do they see a politician who wants to make peace with the Israelis, or a man who is telling them that victory is coming and any price, including the deaths of his fellow citizens, is OK? Are we closer to peace this morning, or yet another step further away?
Also from the LA Times
"Adnan Afandi of Bethlehem, one of the freed men, had served 21 years in prison. "I feel that we came out from the grave and into life once again," he said."
And on the subject of painful compromise, this from the Washington Post
Qadura Farres, head of the Palestinian prisoners, said that Israel was not doing the Palestinians any favors and that all these prisoners should have been released as part of the Oslo Accords, an agreement to establish a measure of Palestinian self-rule and partial withdrawal of Israeli troops. Despite this, Mr Farres said, he was happy about Monday's release, adding that it gives a "ray of hope for the release of all our other prisoners".Not doing anyone any favours is a key message in an entitlement-based society like the one the Palestinian Arabs have constructed. Compromise? Peace process? Who's kidding whom? Fares is a close associate, according to Wikipedia, of the convicted murderer Marwan Barghouti. Barghouti's principal victim was a Greek Orthodox priest, murdered while driving his own car because his beard made him look too Jewish.
Again from the Washington Post:
“They will participate in a special torch-lighting to celebrate the beginning of the new year,” Palestinian Minister of Prisoner Affairs Issa Karak said in an interview. “We are very happy for the release of our prisoners, who have spent 20 years in jail, and see this as a step towards freedom for all our prisoners.”Did anyone, even John Kerry, imagine we would hear the PA's minister for convicted murderers say the release makes them happy because it's a step towards making peace? Is anyone paying attention to what Karak did say? He has just articulated his side's main goal: they are doing what they are doing so that their "prisoners", convicted felons and many of them cold-blooded murdering savages, can walk free. That's their program. And it's succeeding.
Any suggestion that peace forms some part of their strategic plan, as a succession of US government officials has been saying non-stop since the relentless pressure got underway, is 100% wishful thinking. If we're wrong, show us the evidence, please. Perhaps Marie Harf of the State Department has some for us?