We don't know the jihadist thug's name at this stage.
What is being reported, initially by Israel's Channel 10 television news this evening, is that he is a 26 year-old male who was apprehended, armed with a knife, as he was making his way into an Israeli community in order to "launch an attack" in their words.
The report suggests the intercept was made at the Qalandiya security checkpoint just a couple of kilometers north of Jerusalem's northern suburbs. (We know Qalandiya. It's the IDF security checkpoint through which the murderer of our child, and the human bomb she brought with her, passed unimpeded en route to central Jerusalem on the morning of August 9, 2001.)
All the Shalit Transaction releases were conditional on the prisoners not resorting to terror again. Whether anyone on the Israeli side believed or cared about the degree to which the terrorists understood this or paid it any attention, or not, there are certain automatic penalties of a serious nature that kick in (so we were personally told by a high-ranking official in Israel's Ministry of Justice) if they are ever apprehended on fresh terrorism charges.
Are those penalties being applied? If yes, the authorities have been very quiet about saying so.
Did anyone expect the terrorists freed by a political decision to go back to a quiet and law-abiding life? Not really. We think the extorted decision to free the 1,027 who walked to freedom in October and November 2011 - including the hideous woman who engineered the massacre at central Jerusalem's Sbarro restaurant, and is the murderer of our daughter - was made without any serious regard for either consequences or principle.
As to why Israel then agreed, buckling under intense pressure from the US State Department in the middle of 2013, to do the same self-defeating thing again in the case of 104 convicted terrorists every single one of whom (from our investigations) had murdered a human or more than one, remains a wide-open sore and a puzzling, worrying mystery for anyone who respects the decision-making process of politicians. (We no longer belong to that category.)
So if no one seriously expected the convicted and unrepentant murderers of our and other people's loved ones to change profoundly and walk away from a life dedicated to killing Israelis and Jews, how bad is it that yet another one of them has now been apprehended?
We say it's simply evidence that the premise on which the prisoner releases were made was totally unsound and indefensible to begin with.
What right do political figures have to make decisions that will - for a certainty - endanger the lives of people in the communities they represent?
But that's not what's profoundly and utterly wrong with the decision to free the killers and assorted other terrorists with the blessing of certain major powers. And when John Kerry's State Department presses the Israeli government relentlessly to push ahead with the four stages of the 2013-2014 terrorist releases, against all the evidence that this is neither achieving its goal nor justifiable on any democratic theory, what's going on?
State's argument last year was that freeing convicted terrorists would bring the Palestinian Authority to the point where it negotiates a peace with Israel within nine months. That period ends next month. But most rational, informed observers know the Mahmoud Abbas PA (a) is impotent in every political and governmental sense of the word; (b) has no ability to sell peace or painful compromise to the Palestinian Arabs in whose name it claims to act even if it had the desire and there is zero real evidence that it does; and (c) is hopelessly addicted to the worship of terrorists as heroes. So it's bound to fail.
But that's not why freeing terrorists is a disastrous mistake. The reason has to do with justice.
Israel, unlike almost every other country within a couple of hours of flying distance from where we write these words, is a genuine democracy with a solid commitment to law and justice... except when political expediency is allowed to pervert those fundamental values and blind both the political figures and the public to what is being done.
Every one of the terrorists sentenced to lengthy prison terms was adjudicated by the legal system and its judges. Judges, basing themselves on judicial precedent and legal theory, made the decisions, just as we would want them to. And so would you, assuming you live in a real democracy.
But what does it mean to that genuine democracy when the judicial arm of government is massively ignored, over-ruled, by the executive arm?
We're not here to sell theories. But no democracy can tolerate its judicial arm being shoved rudely aside in this way.
Just as an example, the three-judge panel said this when sentencing the woman who confessed proudly to the murder of our Malki and 14 other people (15 if you include the young mother who remains unconscious to this day, twelve and a half years later):
We sentence the guilty party, unanimously, to fifteen life sentences and add to them one further life sentence for her other crimes. The sentences are to be cumulative. Before signing this judgment, we find it appropriate, in the spirit of the military prosecutor’s request, to recommend that the guilty party not be eligible for pardon by the military commander, nor to early parole by any other means. [Translated by us from the Hebrew Court Session Transcript of October 23, 2003]As parents of one of this psychopathic woman's victims, we are tortured by wondering how much regard was given to the pronouncement of the judges when the politicians decided to free the Sbarro massacre's principal architect? Roughly zero is the correct answer, we believe.
So let's say it bluntly: the freeing of terrorists from their lawfully-determined custodial sentences is an assault on basic notions of justice.
We think the political figures, both here in our country and on the other side of the Atlantic, will be held accountable in years to come for the damage they have done and are doing to Israeli democracy and Israel's democratic institutions.
|A smiling Mahmoud Abbas, surrounded by triumphant, unrepentant and freed|
killers of Jews, disturbingly in his element [Image Source: UPI]
One final point: since our daughter was a US citizen, and the State Department has certain obligations in relation to the rights of US citizens including those who have been murdered, we have directed a number of letters to Mr Kerry and his staff at the State Department. They - meaning we - have been comprehensively ignored.
It's hard to adequately explain to our readers how demoralizing this.
For a sense of what we have said, see a blog post we wrote last month which summarizes the previous few months of posts: "7-Feb-14: Still wondering how they can imagine in Washington that this is the way to make peace happen". If you take the trouble to look, you will find that John Kerry and his staff have said some flat-out astounding things about Palestinian Arab terror that most people, if they knew, might find shocking.