In the interests of “strengthening” Abbas and Fatah, last week Infrastructures Minister and former defense minister Binyamin Ben Eliezer recommended releasing Fatah terror chief and convicted mass murderer Marwan Barghouti from prison. Ben Eliezer and Deputy Defense Minister Matan Vilnai defend their position by extolling Barghouti as “the new Yasser Arafat.” [! — ed.] It was during Ben Eliezer’s tenure as defense minister that the IDF arrested Barghouti in April 2002. Four months later, the State Prosecution submitted his indictment. Israel indicted Barghouti of 26 counts of premeditated murder, accessory to murder, solicitation of murder, attempted murder, criminal conspiracy, membership in a terrorist organization and terrorist activity…
In its 2004 verdict, the Tel Aviv District Court found Barghouti guilty of five counts of murder. Regarding the other murders, the court felt he had “moral responsibility” but that he had no “legal responsibility,” for the carnage he directed, incited and financed…
In an interview with Army Radio last week, Ben Eliezer explained that freeing Barghouti is necessary to “strengthen Fatah” against Hamas. Rather than castigating Barghouti for his close ties to Hamas, Ben Eliezer presented them as an attribute. In his words, the arch-terrorist is “well-respected by Hamas.” He then said, “For us he might be a murderer, but I’d like to remind you that Arafat was no less of a murderer, and we approached him as well.”
Ben-Eliezer failed to note the irony of his statement. Yes, Israel “approached” Arafat and lo and behold, Arafat remained a murderer committed to Israel’s destruction. As a result of Israel’s decision to “approach” Arafat, some 1,500 Israelis are dead today and Palestinian society is the most jihadist society in the world.
It seems to me that part of the problem is that a large enough and violent enough segment of the Palestinian population is not prepared to accept a truly moderate leader, or even to allow one to surface. Being a murderer is almost a qualification for Palestinian leadership.
This will not be solved by helping the Palestinians annoint another bloody murderer whose life has been devoted to killing Jews.
Let the Palestinians figure out that they are not going to replace Israel with an Arab state. The sooner they understand this and come to terms with the existence of the Jewish state, the sooner they will be able to put their terrorist national character behind them, become a normal people and get their own state.