Kerry’s Push to Release Palestinian Terrorists

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Amman meets US Secretary of State John KerryTwo months ago I reported here that Secretary of State John Kerry was—in the immediate aftermath of the Boston Marathon terror attack—pressuring Israel to release heinous terrorists from prison.

The rationale: such a release was being demanded by Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas, and would get him to resume peace negotiations with Israel after stonewalling them for four years.

It was reported at the time that the Israeli government was against the idea.

Kerry is set to return to Israel and the Palestinian Authority in late June—his fifth visit since taking office—for yet another round of trying to wheedle and propitiate Abbas into consenting to negotiate with Israel.

And again—at least according to some worried Israeli Knesset members—releasing terrorists may be on the agenda.

On Sunday Israel National News reported that

The Land of Israel Lobby in the Knesset…has sprung into action with a new proposal aimed at ending the phenomenon of prime ministers releasing terrorists from prison as a “goodwill gesture.”

…The new proposal comes as rumors abound that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is planning to release roughly 100 terrorists as a goodwill gesture to Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas.

Since Israeli prisoner releases have to be approved by the president—currently Shimon Peres—the proposal would deny the president the right to do so except in cases of early releases for humanitarian reasons or releases as part of swaps for captive Israelis.

In fact, a poll earlier this month found that 85 percent of Israeli Jews oppose releasing terrorists as a gesture to enable negotiations.

The Israel National News report, however, gives a list of the members of Knesset who so far have signed the proposal. It turns out that all of them are either from the right-of-center Likud and Bayit Yehudi/Jewish Home parties (which are part of the governing coalition) or the right-leaning Shas and Torah Judaism religious parties (which are not).

In other words, it appears—at least so far—that all of the centrist and moderate-left MKs (whether from inside or outside the coalition) are out of step with most of their voters in being prepared to accept a terrorists-for-talks swap.

As for Netanyahu, it’s to be hoped that the abovementioned rumors about his own readiness for such a “gesture” are wrong.

Netanyahu has already gone far in adjusting his policies to pressures from the Obama administration—by repeatedly pronouncing himself in favor of a Palestinian state that would be demilitarized under Israeli supervision and recognize Israel as a Jewish state, and by, in his previous term, ordering a ten-month settlement freeze that was also aimed at getting Abbas to negotiate.

Those moves are defensible as means to keep U.S.-Israeli relations on track at a time of heightened regional threats and intensified U.S.-Israeli security cooperation.

Freeing murderers from prison as a way of appeasing Abbas, however, would not be justified in those terms. If there is a case where Netanyahu has to substitute principle for realpolitik, this is it.

The average Israeli citizen knows that such a release of terrorists would be both morally repugnant and, pragmatically speaking, an oxymoron. Terror and peace don’t go together; terror does not lead to peace. Israel learned that very painfully in what was known as the Oslo process. Apart from the specific dangers entailed, Abbas, in making such a demand, is signaling something other than a genuine interest in peace.

U.S.-Israeli relations won’t collapse if, on this one, Netanyahu stands firm against Kerry. With Syria seething, Iraq exploding, Jordan and Lebanon endangered, Israel’s indispensability as an island of stability and military and intelligence capabilities is too great for that. If a left-leaning U.S. administration and left-leaning elements in Israel are incapable of dissociating terror and peace, Netanyahu’s task as leader of the Israeli people is to insist on keeping them separate.

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  • henrytobias

    Hypocrisy is not new.

    • bluffcreek1967

      Yes, indeed. After all that has occurred with 9-11 and other terrorist acts, why in the world is an American Secretary of State doing anything to have known, murderous terrorists released!? Is it so they can have another opportunity to kill more Americans of Jewish people?

      “Ways to Resist the Muslim Plague,”

  • StanleyT

    Sharon was voted into power on a platform of not withdrawing from Gaza. Rabin was voted into power on a platform of not negotiating with terrorists. Start expecting Israeli politicians to actually stick to the platforms that won them election and you may as well go live in Somalia.

    • BigBeBe7

      or South Tel Aviv!

      Old people call it Tel Aviv, Africa!

      • StanleyT

        the short term memory loss is increasing as patient fails to remember making same post in different venue. Similarly, patient’s uttering make less and less sense. Unfortunately, there is no cure for this disease, as it robs the patient of any ability to think clearly or function normally.

        • BigBeBe7

          Or use Punctuation and Grammar?

          • StanleyT

            Patient may also become delusional and start using German grammatical conventions.

          • BigBeBe7

            …And not be able to find those Punctuation and Grammatical errors of standard form?

          • StanleyT

            Incoherence increases exponentially until the point is reached where further contact with the patient is wasted effort.

      • Hiram50

        Hey buddy, I believe those responding to your rant, think you might just be off a bit. I wonder why, my friend?

  • defcon 4

    To think I voted for this cretin Kerry. Maybe it’s better that Dubya was re-elected after all.

  • The Dead Critic

    John Kerry…from the makers of the liberal lovers of the Kennedy clan. The same guy who grew up thinking he was JFK reincarnated, to the point he went on to Vietnam to be a river boat wannabe, shoot himself to a purple heart, and then marry a ketchup sauce heiress in an attempt to look like the Kennedy’s. This nut job has NO BUSINESS in government.

    What does that say about the voters in Massachusetts?

  • nonstopca

    Go ahead and release “all of them” but first do a frontal lobe lobotomy……

    • Drakken

      Preferably with a lead injection.

    • Andy_Lewis

      Release them to Gaza.


    John Kerry is a liberal piece of crap, obama is a liberal piece of crap, america is now a liberal piece of crap, jesus is now a liberal piece of crap, etc. etc. etc….

  • Drakken

    Note to Israel, no prisoners, no future problems.

    • Gee

      That I have been saying for years.

      • Andy_Lewis

        Expulsion…an idea whose time has come.

  • Nico Bester

    What shame! This man is a disgrace!
    There is no way that these enemies of the West can ever be trusted. I am sick and tired of the Israel-bashing that goes on in the media and left-wing politics. The Jews today…. who will it be tomorrow?? Me?? You??
    Share this link with your friends; we need to spread the message.

  • American1969

    Kerry is a disgrace. Just like the rest of the progressive scum in this Administration.