Green Room

Israel’s “goodwill measures” — a bad deal?

posted at 11:14 am on July 14, 2013 by

During my two trips to Jerusalem, I’ve had the pleasure of becoming friends with Richard Wittman, director of Strategic Development for the Knesset Forum.  Richard “rescued” me from my hotel during the Presidential Conference in 2011 and gave me a late-night tour of the Old City, and last month took me on a longer visit. Richard and I now joke about being brothers separated at birth, given that we have similar hairstyles and similar senses of humor.

Richard’s passionate about the policy in Israel of “goodwill measures” of swapping hundreds of prisoners for a handful of kidnapped soldiers.  He has a new op-ed in the Jerusalem Post expressing his frustration at their consequences:

The Israeli justice system gave these terrorists a more than fair trial, and their sentences, while not commensurate with their crimes nevertheless constituted some measure of justice; at least they would never be released.

Now some of those seeking peace think that persuading the government to release these murderers as a goodwill measure will bring the Palestinians to the negotiating table. Even if it were so, the crimes committed by these barbarians were so heinous that for the government or release them or use them as bargaining chips would make a mockery of the justice system, in addition to encouraging and rewarding terrorism and causing even more pain for the families of their victims.

The results of our goodwill measures to the Palestinians in the past have been particularly bad. Our government has released thousands of terrorists only to have them come back and continue murdering our people.

One report I have seen in the media claims that since the year 2000, over 180 innocent Israelis have been killed by released terrorists. Based on this experience and claims that around half of all those released return to terrorist activities against us, how could our government contemplate releasing even more terrorists knowing full well around half will go straight back to terror? It would be foolhardy, and moreover in my view would render the government culpable for the resulting deaths; we know full well the outcome will be more death, we just don’t know the names and times.

Be sure to read it all.

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we have similar hairstyles

That’s like saying those hunger strikers have similar diets.

:D

itsnotaboutme on July 14, 2013 at 11:27 AM

Seriously, the kidnapping of soldiers is an act of war.
Israel ought to be killing terrorists until those soldiers are released.
What they’re doing now is only going to encourage more kidnappings.

itsnotaboutme on July 14, 2013 at 11:30 AM

Richard and I now joke about being brothers separated at birth, given that we have similar hairstyles and similar senses of humor.

If only you had the same cheekbones.

Flange on July 14, 2013 at 11:59 AM

Terrorism is bullying writ large. Bullies don’t recognize kindness as anything but weakness. It only encourages them. You may gain some ground with those less ideologically ossified, but the terrorists and their supporters, which is most of the Palestinian population, most of the Arab population of the region, most of the UN and a large chunk of the American left, will only see concessions as progress towards a victory over Israel.

In short, those who might be moved by such gestures aren’t in a position to help Israel achieve peace and security. You’re wasting your time, unless the Domestic benefits within Israel are justification enough for you.

trubble on July 14, 2013 at 12:26 PM

Obama needs a MidEast “Squirrel!” to distract people from the messes in Libya, Egypt and Syria.

Wethal on July 14, 2013 at 1:28 PM

Sadly, but what I obviously believe is true: there will never be peace between Israel and those who wish to destroy her until one side convincingly defeats the other militarily …

ShainS on July 14, 2013 at 2:05 PM

Sadly, but what I obviously believe is true: there will never be peace between Israel and those who wish to destroy her until one side convincingly defeats the other militarily …

ShainS on July 14, 2013 at 2:05 PM

If Israel lays down its arms, there will be no more Israel.

If the Muslims lay down their arms, there will be peace.

itsnotaboutme on July 14, 2013 at 2:56 PM

Not our business how Israel handles this problem. I have a opinion but I’m sure Israel is tired of non Israelis telling them what to do all the time.

Blake on July 14, 2013 at 7:09 PM

Sulha.

It’s still not going to happen, but if the Knesset, Israeli government and Israeli people really want to get at the heart of peace, they need to ask for sulha. Reconciliation.

Sulha is real peace because it’s lasting peace. It’s burying the hatchet once and for all. Many Jews and Arabs individually and in small groups are taking part in sulha, but the larger groups, the terrorists and the governments will never take part. And this is also why “peace” measures will not work, because salaam peace is/can be temporary. The Muslims that Israel deals with think in terms of Hudabiayah, just as Arafat often pointed out to them. Peace for them is a bargaining chip until things turn in their favor and they can strike back to gain the upper hand.

Logus on July 14, 2013 at 11:14 PM

Sulha. Work towards sulha. Reconciliation. Won’t happen, but it’ll put the nations around Israel on alert that they have their number. Muslim nations are playing games with Israel over salaam.

Logus on July 14, 2013 at 11:27 PM