Tuesday, December 30, 2014

30-Dec-14: Killers, heroes, passions and (sadly) churches

The now-convicted and imprisoned terrorist Al-Araja
at his trial, April 2013 [Image Source]
In the news reporting of this ongoing war, few voices are quite as malevolent as that of Issa Karake (sometimes written Qaraqe). Somewhat less than a household name outside the Palestinian Arab world, he gets wide and frequent coverage in the Arabic media, much of it serving as incitement for the people in his sphere of influence to do more terror.

Until recently, he was the Minister of Prisoners' Affairs in the Mahmoud Abbas regime. During the summer, he became the head of a brand new PLO entity, the Prisoners Affairs Authority that does pretty much exactly the same work - but now outside the PA. The reason why, like much of what happens in the terror business, is money-related and is described here

The man's frequent public speeches and talk-show appearances center on one theme: the heroic nature of Palestinian Arab terror and those who do it. That plus the unreasonable cruelty of the Israelis who stubbornly keep putting terrorists behind bars, refusing to let them out to be honored as men and women of transcendent achievement. (The good people of Palestinian Media Watch.have compiled an on-line archive of Karake video clips and speech texts, translated from the Arabic,) 

Now for his latest rant: 
PA minister legitimizes murdering Israelis [Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik, Palestinian Media Watch, yesterday] Ali Sa’ada, a terrorist prisoner who murdered a father and his one-year-old baby, was fined 3.5 million shekels by Israel. [But] that fine is "delegitimizing the [Palestinian] national resistance", says Prisoners’ Affairs Authority Director and PA Parliament Member Issa Karake. According to Karake, who holds the rank of minister, the killing of one-year-old Israelis is legitimate "resistance". 
PA/PLO's Karake [Image Source]
Karake's ire about the practitioners of vicious terror being delegitimized has, of course, some relevant background. Perhaps this eludes the busy Palestinian Arab politician. Or else he hopes his audience will not want to know. So we want you to know.

Sa'ada, along with a number of other savages including one called Al-Araja, murdered Asher Palmer, 25, and his year-old baby son Yonatan on September 23, 2011. They were convicted of serious crimes and imprisoned. Leading up to the attack, they had formed themselves into a terror platoon that, over a period of months, honed the skills needed to become a car-based, boulder-hurling, mobile artillery squad. On that fateful September day, they propelled rocks into Asher Palmer's vehicle from the car in which they were riding on the same road. They succeeded in striking the infant in the head and caused the father to lose control of his car which ran off the road at speed. Father and baby son were killed. 

The tragic and senseless killing of Asher Palmer and Yonatan have held our attention here several times: 
Karake's shameless whine appeared in a news report carried by WAFA, the official Palestinian Arab news agency, on December 16, 2014. He asserts there that Israeli courts
collect large sums from the prisoners, and that 95% of the verdicts pronounced by these courts involve fines, some of which are exceedingly high... Karake noted the existence of an even more severe policy, which the occupation courts have been adopting, and which involves the passing of sentences on prisoners that force them to pay large sums in financial compensation to Israelis who have been exposed to resistance by Palestinians (i.e., terror attacks). He noted that [a fine of] 3.5 million shekels had been imposed on prisoner Ali Sa’ada, as compensation for the families of the killed settlers, with the aim of delegitimizing the [Palestinian] national resistance against the occupation.
Almost everything in that Karake sentence is invented nonsense. The idea that a system of law and order (Israel's) that arrests and imprisons men (Palestinian Arabs) who murder babies can be called a delegitimization of the killers and their self-justification is a breathtaking chutzpah. 

But there is a serious point here.

In the week before Karake's gems appeared in print, an IDF court handed down a ruling on a novel argument put forward by legal counsel for the grieving Palmer family. They, like most Israelis who are haunted by the specter of convicted, unrepentant Palestinian Arab murderers walking free, know from bitter experience that multiple life sentences imposed by Israeli courts can evaporate into the air once the politicians decide to let the killers walk free. 

How can Israelis with a serious passion for justice reduce the likelihood of further self-defeating, politician-engineered, prisoner-release deals like the infamous Gilad Shalit transaction of 2011?

The doubly-bereaved Palmer family's response was to come up with a tactic that substantially increases the price (literally) to be paid on some future date for any commutation of sentence of those convicted of murdering their loved ones. As the Jerusalem Post reported two weeks ago, they persuaded the court of their view:
An IDF court has granted massive punitive damages, in the amount of NIS 3.5 million, to the family of Asher and Yonatan Palmer, victims of a terrorist attack perpetrated by Ali Saada and Waal al-Arjeh. The unprecedented ruling was handed down late Thursday by the Judea Military Court against Saada, along with a prison sentence of two life terms plus 50 years, but has not been publicly announced. In February, the Palmer family’s lawyer, Adrian Agassi, requested massive punitive damages, but for an extended period there has been no decision, likely in part due to the novelty of the issue, as Israeli civilian courts in similar cases are capped in granting punitive damages beyond NIS 200,000.
Agassi called the decision a “legal price tag” which could better deter future terrorism and possibly make it harder to release those sentenced in any future prisoner exchange deal... The NIS 3.5m. is lower than the NIS 10m. that Agassi originally requested, but is still unprecedented, and Saada is expected to appeal. ["IDF court fines one of Asher Palmer’s murderers", Jerusalem Post, December 14, 2014]
Like us, Michael Palmer, Asher's father, has learned the hardest way not to rely on the political echelon's respect for the moral rights of terror victims. Instead, via some creative thinking and a dedicated legal team, he has taken steps to get court-ordered, novel, financial compensation that may make it harder for justice to be infuriatingly "pardoned" away again, as has happened over and over during the past three years. 

It's hardly a guarantee that the murdering thug is going to serve out his sentence. But as things stand today, the killer's freedom is going to cost someone about a million dollars in compensatory fines. 
WCC headquarters, Geneva: A notable lack of empathic warm
[Image Source]

Now if anyone out there is thinking that no person in his or her right mind could possibly share Minister Karake's sick view that the court-ordered fine amounts to delegitimizing Palestinian Arab "resistance", we now bring the world's largest church group into the discussion. 

It's a scandal about which we began writing in April 2014 [here] when the World Council of Churches published a call for solidarity by its faithful with what it called "some 5000 Palestinian men, women and children, languishing in Israeli jails". 

Though many of the convicts are self-confessed murderers and most of the rest are unrepentant terrorists, the WCC's chief executive, Olav Fykse Tveit, a Norwegian Lutheran, called on the worshipers in its member churches 
"to pray for, visit, and tend to the needs of all prisoners, no matter the reason for their detention. For Israel and Palestine, prisoners have taken on even greater significance than in the past."
That breathtaking phrase "no matter the reason for their detention" still rattles in our brain. What kind of theology does this man practice? Rev. Tveit went on to invite 
"the churches in the Holy Land to remember Palestinian prisoners through prayers and acts of solidarity that restore to them their freedom with justice and dignity”.
(You want to see the other comments we made at the time: "17-Apr-14: Christian solidarity with unrepentant murderers: where's the outrage?")

Like the unspeakable Karake, the head of the World Council of Churches weeps for the terrorists. His pastoral message calls for the unjustifiable freedom of the killers of babies to be restored; for the undeserving justice of the human bombs to be respected; and (yes, that's his word) for the dignity of the men who stuff nails inside bombs that they place on Israeli buses to win faithful Christian people's solidarity
WCC's Rev. Olav Fykse Tveit [Image Source]

As for the victims of those lethal passions, there is (how to put this charitably?) considerably less WCC empathy

As we noted here just a few days agothe only substantive reaction we ourselves ever got (and we tried hard and repeatedly) came in the form of a personal note from the WCC's then Director of Communication, Mark Beach (he's evidently no longer in that position as of this month). In an email from Geneva to us dated June 5, 2014, Beach addressed the questions and sharply critical comments we had directed over and again at his boss. We wrote as parents of a beautiful child of 15, murdered by the thugs for whose dignity the Christians of the WCC had been asked to pray. Probably not that moved, Mr Beach helpfully informed us that:
Yes, I believe we would have nothing further to say.
And he has been as good as his word ever since. 

The background is here ["6-Jun-14: Fear and loathing at the World Council of Churches"]. The lyrics of a modern Hebrew song  entitled "Ha-Kotel" ("The Western Wall") come to mind: 
"Yesh anashim im lev shel even. Yesh avanim im lev adam". In English, "Some people have hearts of stone. Some stones have a human heart."
There is not much doubt, it has to be said, that on the life and death terrorism-centred matters about which we are writing, the upstanding Christians of the World Council of Churches and the terrorist thugs represented by Karake of the PLO/Palestinian Authority are on about the same plane. They share a similar nauseating regard for jihad and murder. They appeal for ever greater understanding of the terrorists and their lethal 'resistance' industry. And about the Jewish victims? Enough said.

We're baffled by the idea that religion-minded Christians can see this and yet not scream for the WCC leadership to be kicked down the stairs of their well-appointed Swiss office headquarters and out of their pulpits. 

1 comment:

Chanah said...

When I lived in the old country, most of my friends were goyim, since I was in an area with few Jews. I remember they would denigrate the WWC and mainline denominations of Christianity as not being true to Jesus' Christianity. Some of these churches have adopted "Replacement theology", by which they believe the church is the new Chosen People, as -to them - Jews have been dismissed by G-d for not believing in their messiah. To my friends, the true Christians are pro-Jewish Israel and anti-Muslim, anti-two-state position. So it is the larger body of Christianity that has drifted from its roots. The remnant exists, albeit quietly, so far.