July 28, 2007
Israel's Illusion - Fatah feted is Hamas hatedBy David Singer
Israel's unilateral decision earlier this month to release 250 Fatah terrorists from Israeli jails continues the insane policy of appeasement adopted by successive Israeli Governments since the Oslo Accords were signed in 1993.
This decision coupled with unilateral withdrawals from Lebanon in 2000, Gaza in 2005 and the unilateral release of another 500 terrorists in February 2005 sends a clear message to its Arab enemies -- that terrorism coupled with no compromise and no meaningful negotiations is bringing concrete and tangible benefits towards the ultimate goal of wiping Israel off the face of the earth.
The decision to release these 250 terrorists was taken in obscene haste since their names and the crimes they committed were not even known to the Israeli cabinet when it made its astounding decision.
Israel is no Guantanamo Bay - all those to be released have been tried sentenced and convicted by due legal process.
The Israeli Cabinet was only told that those to be released did not have "blood on their hands". That they had "blood on their minds" - and still no doubt harbour the same thoughts now - apparently was a matter of complete indifference to the Israeli Government.
Coupled with this release was the release and return of four terrorists "with blood on their hands" to Jordan - a state with whom Israel has diplomatic relations. They are to serve out in Jordan a ridiculously short period of only 18 more months of their life sentences for murder for which they were convicted by Israel.
As controversial and shocking as this decision was, at least it could be argued that Israel was releasing them in the national interest of forging better relations with an Arab State with whom it has a signed peace treaty.
But the rationale offered by Israel's Prime Minister Ehud Olmert for the release of the 250 Fatah terrorists makes amazing reading:
The "moderate forces" are Fatah - an organisation committed to Israel's destruction in stages - as contrasted to the "extremist forces" namely Hamas - an organisation committed to Israel's destruction in one fell swoop.
Some option for Israel to choose - death by one blow or by a thousand cuts. Why choose either?
Does Mr Olmert not understand that contrary to strengthening Fatah, this decision will only encourage Hamas to keep undermining Fatah in an attempt to coerce Israel into releasing even more terrorists to continue propping up Fatah?
Are we now going to see an "unending cycle of terrorist releases" in response to an "unending undermining of the moderates"?
The path that Mr Olmert believes the moderates will now be encouraged to follow to create conditions for "real talks" was articulated by Mr Olmert at the meeting he held at Sharm El Sheikh with Egypt's Hosni Mubarak, Jordan's King Abdullah and Mahmoud Abbas on 25 June:
The new Government in the Palestinian Authority recognises Israel's right to exist and renounces terror and violence as a goal? Has it taken any steps to revoke the Palestine Liberation Organisation Charter that calls for Israel's annihilation and armed struggle as the only way to liberate Palestine? Has it done anything to stop the virulent hatred of Jews endemic in its educational system, its newspapers and television programming?
The Palestinian Authority recognises the two state solution ? Well maybe - if that two state solution results in a Jew-free state between Israel and Jordan and the entry into Israel of millions of Arabs. This recipe for Israel's suicide is one that even Mr. Olmert cannot accept and Mr Abbas can never compromise on. It is and always has been a non-starter since it was first proposed by Yasser Arafat 33 years ago.
The only real two state solution involves the division of the West Bank between Jordan and Israel - the two successor states in former Palestine. That's what "two states for two peoples" - the Jews and the Arabs - surely means.
Implementing the Road Map is surely fanciful from anyone's perspective. It has failed to get off the ground after four years of prodding and cajoling by its sponsors America, the European Union, Russia and the United Nations - surely the most powerful group of "enforcers" ever assembled. It has been rejected by the Arab League whose members are now urging negotiations based on their own five year old plan that would have even harsher consequences for, and has already been rejected by, Israel.
Mr Olmert said of his decision to release those 250 terrorists:
"Fitting"? - the unconditional release of 250 convicted and sworn enemies of Israel and a brutal slap in the face for the Israeli Defence Forces, police and security services who risk their lives on a daily basis to protect ordinary Israeli civilians from these would be mass murderers?
Call it an illusion, a mirage, an aberration - Olmert's poor political judgement has once again caused serious harm to Israel's national interest and any prospect for a resolution of the Arab- Jewish conflict.
David Singer is an Australian Lawyer and Convenor of Jordan is Palestine International - an organization calling for sovereignty of the West Bank and Gaza to be allocated between Israel and Jordan as the two successor States to the Mandate for Palestine