Tuesday, October 03, 2017

03-Oct-17: Released in Shalit Deal, a pious Pal Arab murderer is going back (too late) to life in an Israeli prison

The now-widowed Hadas Mizrahi and five of her children
in much happier times, with her murdered husband
Baruch Z"L [Image Source]. A family devastated
by another Shalit Deal-driven catastrophe
Another beneficiary of the catastrophic 2011 Shalit Deal was re-sentenced yesterday by an Israeli court. This has gotten only minor media attention, even here in Israel. That's a great pity. It highlights some lessons worth learning.

First about the deal.

We're referring to the massive act of terrorist extortion that induced Israel to allow 1,027 convicted terrorists, fully half of them (by our careful count) convicted murderers or attempted murderers, to walk free in October 2011. This was done to secure the release from Hamas of an Israeli hostage, Gilad Shalit.

Both of us (Frimet and Arnold Roth) put a lot of time, energy and effort into trying to persuade the public that this was a very, very bad idea. We felt strongly that one of the terrorists in particular should never have been released: See "14-Oct-11: Please sign a petition to keep this particular terrorist behind bars" and "15-Oct-11: Video: The murderer of our child says: "I don't regret anything""]

Could the terrible results of the catastrophic Shalit Deal have been avoided? It's a question that has haunted us since the terrible deed was done. Here's a relevant comment we made in a 2012 post ["18-Oct-12: The Shalit deal a year later - a personal reflection"]:
Before the release, it was hard to say, but immediately afterwards there were important revelations. A freshly-retired senior commander in IDF counter-terrorism intelligence, Colonel (res.) Ronen Cohen - most recently the intelligence officer of Central Command. - said when interviewed on the day Gilad walked free, that this constituted “a resounding failure… The IDF never took responsibility for the soldier and did not even set up a team to deal with bringing him back… Intelligence is not passive but must be activated. [In the Shalit case,] it never was.”
The specific Shalit Deal releasee about whom we write below was central to two earlier posts of ours: "15-Apr-14: Seder night shooting attack: dead and wounded Israeli victims" and "23-Jun-14: Quietly, inexorably, almost entirely unreported, the lethal consequences of the Shalit Transaction grow"

That 2014 terror attack was executed by Awad on Route 35 near the Tarqumiya-Idhna road junction near Hebron. Izzadin Awad, the son, was convicted of materially aiding the murder done by his father, and sentenced yesterday to 20 years in prison. The court ordered him to pay the Mizrahi family NIS 250,000.

Commander Mizrahi was the father of five children, aged at the time between three and thirteen. As the NY Times report says, his widow Hadas who was also shot, was pregnant at the time of her husband's murder. Their nine year old son was shot too.

Ynet says Ziad Awad the terrorist
was sentenced to two life sentences on Monday [yesterday]. The presiding judge also took into account that Awad had carried out the attack despite being one of the terrorists released as part of the Gilad Shalit deal. Baruch Mizrahi was killed on the eve of Passover while driving with his wife Hadas and five children to the West Bank settlement of Kiryat Arba, to take part in the Passover Seder (feast). Awad, who is a resident of the Palestinian West Bank town of Idhna, opened fire on the vehicle, killing Baruch, seriously injuring Hadas and lightly wounding one of their children. ["2 life sentences for terrorist previously released in Shalit deal", Ynet, September 3, 2017]
Back in 2014 when Ziad was 45, the New York Times said he had been
freed from a life sentence for murdering Palestinians suspected of collaborating with Israel as part of the [Shalit] 2011... The authorities said Mr. Awad and his 18-year-old son, Izzedin Hassan Ziad Awad, were arrested May 7 [2014] for the April 14 slaying of the police commander... The authorities said that the younger Mr. Awad had produced the murder weapon, an AK-47 stained with his father’s DNA, and told interrogators that his father said his motive was religious because Islam promised paradise to anyone who kills a Jew. Mr. Mizrahi’s wife, Hadas, who was pregnant and wounded in the shooting, said Monday that his death shows the danger of releasing prisoners, an increasingly contentious issue in Israel, and called for Israel to institute the death penalty. “If they did not have a bargaining chip, my husband would have been alive today,” Ms. Mizrahi said in an interview on Army Radio... ["Palestinian Freed in 2011 Is Charged by Israel in a Killing", New York Times, June 23, 2014]
That religious piety - it's worth turning over in our minds. It was described elsewhere just after the arrests this way:
Before launching the attack, Awad confided in his son that he had religious motivation, saying that, "according to Islam, whoever kills a Jew goes to heaven." [Ynet, June 23, 2014]
So how dedicated was this killer to the creation of a Palestinian Arab homeland? To the rights of self-determination of his people? To ending the so-called occupation? Not much at all, the man himself is saying. For him, as for so many other Palestinian Arabs attracted to the extremist Islamist terror gangs, it's about religion and paradise. To us, it's fairly clear that the specifically religious passions motivating Palestinian Arab terror, and driver terror in general, don't in general get enough attention from anyone, and certainly not from the news-reporting industry. We can appreciate how much of a minefield this is for them. But not examining it is to do a major disservice to people who need to understand and expect the news media to help.

According to the go-free list issued in October 2011 in the two days before the Shalit Deal was consummated, Awad - whom it calls Awadh Ziad Awadh al-Salaima Awad, releasee number 431 - was "expelled" to the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip. That destination makes sense given his Hamas affiliation (described as a fact in this Arab source that says his son is a Hamas agent too).

Baruch Mizrahi, murdered by the Awads
[Image Source]
But then how did Awad leave there and become involved once again in terror in the vicinity of the Israeli communities of Judea and Samaria? He would have had to leave Gaza and that's not easy.

No one that we can find has offered an explanation. Our familiarity with the terms of the commutation-of-sentence that the Shalit Deal beneficiaries were granted (gained from first-person discussions with the public officials in charge of the commutations, and from seeing some of the relevant documents) make us think that being expelled also means they were forbidden from later returning to where they used to live before they were convicted.

So it's a real question - and for us at least, really troubling.

Awad had been arrested in 1993 on serious charges and convicted of murdering fellow Arabs, attempted murder, membership of a banned organization (we presume Hamas) and hurling fire-bombs at people (presumably Jewish people). He was sentenced to life imprisonment. But in the end he served only a small part of that.

His 2014 victim, Baruch Mizrahi, made a significant contribution to the well-being of Israelis in a tragically-shortened but strikingly productive life (and that's before we get into his role as husband and devoted father of five children between the ages of 3 and 13).

The official memorial page posted by the government of Israel says he
served in the IDF and the Israel Police for nearly three decades. For 25 years he served in various roles in the IDF, the last of which was as lieutenant colonel in the elite 8200 intelligence unit. After retiring from the army in June 2011, Mizrahi joined Israel Police, and for the past three years held a senior intelligence position in the Israel Police and was in charge of tracking organized crime. He was posthumously promoted to the rank of commander. 
Then there's the painful question of the other family: the killer's family.

Baruch Mizrahi's widow was quoted last night [here] observing with full justice that Palestinian Arab terrorists who are taken into Israeli custody
"receive grant money from the Palestinian Authority, supplies from the Red Cross and living conditions that many Israeli families in need can only dream of. We need to put an end to the terrorists' celebrations." 
The PA money that has already been coming to the Awads - and will continue to come to the end of their days tax-free - puts them well above the household earnings level of ordinary Palestinian Arabs. And way above the salary class of senior members of the Palestinian Authority's civil service.

That's of course, deliberate. The more Israelis the prisoner kills, and the longer the prison sentence he or she gets, the higher the monthly payment that reaches him/her and the family. It's a cruel reality that the relative few - we among them - aware of the human price of catastrophic releases of unrepentant terrorists need to keep in our minds.

It isn't only that Palestinian Arab society puts vicious shooters like the Awads on a pedestal. It's that foreign aid, provided by unwitting taxpayers in European, American and other Western countries whose governments pretend goes to improve the lives of ordinary Palestinian Arabs, is the indispensable fuel for the Abbas' regime's unspeakable and well-lubricated ["25-Jul-17: The scale of the PA's terror-funding scheme keeps growing"] incitement and encouragement of the murder of Jews.

And as payment schemes go, it's been proven to get relatively law-abiding Palestinian Arabs to consider killing one of their Israeli neighbours for the sake of... their families ["11-Jul-17: Incitement to terror: Sometimes it really is all about the money"] and/or their credit scores. It's a chilling phenomenon.

The Rewards for Terror scheme (the PA calls it something else but our name is more accurate) is an indefensible, immoral and entirely counter-productive reality that is long overdue for being stopped. Even people who see themselves as friends of Israel don't seem to appreciate that this can be stopped and easily. Those with the power to stop it are the funders. Many of them, we know, are reading this post but simply don't realize their elected and appointed officials can allow it to continue because analyses like the one we have just written in this post never get into their local mainstream media.

Maybe they should.

UPDATE October 4, 2017: Over at the always-incisive BBC Watch, they pay special attention today to how the Ziad murder was covered by the world's largest broadcasting organization:
The BBC initially reported that attack in a belated thirty-four word paragraph and subsequent reporting failed to clarify that the incident was a terror attack. The terrorist’s arrest and indictment did not receive any BBC coverage and so audiences did not receive any information concerning the motive behind the murder.
“Before launching the attack, Awad confided in his son that he had religious motivation, saying that, “according to Islam, whoever kills a Jew goes to heaven.””
Such cases do not of course fit into the BBC’s chosen narrative of Palestinian terrorism caused by “frustration” at “decades of Israeli occupation” and audiences therefore do not get to hear about them. ["A terrorist defies the BBC’s narrative", BBC Watch, October 4, 2017]
Of course, BBC is not the only part of the news-reporting world that ignores the terrorist's explanation for why he murdered Baruch Mizrahi. Or his sentencing this week. Al-Araby Al-Jadeed does report on the conviction and sentencing but is silent on Awad's version of his own motive. And a syndicated Agence France-Press report [here] also reports the sentence and is also silent on the "Islam-made-me-do-it" aspect. But it does say concerning two of the most notorious terrorist organizations in the world, both of them outlawed under European - and therefore French - law, that "Hamas, the Islamist movement that controls the Gaza Strip, and its radical ally Islamic Jihad both hailed the attack on the policeman as “heroic”"

The "heroism" of concealed, heavily-armed gunmen firing on vehicles filled with Israeli families driving to a family event is tragically something we know only too well in Israel.


[This post, like a number of others before it, has been translated to Polish ("Uwolniony w umowie o Shalita pobożny Arab palestyński, morderca, wraca (zbyt późno) do więziennej celi") by courtesy of Malgorzata Koraszewska over on the Polish-language Listy z naszego sadu website. Our sincere thanks to her, and great appreciation to readers of this blog in Poland.]

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