Tonight I'd like to say a word about the linkage being apparently
made between the early release of Jewish murderers and Palestinian
terrorists, some things you may not recall about Yitzchak Mordechai
including a Gallup Poll we commissioned last week, and Barak's
1. Israeli Murderers Are Not "Our" Murderers
President Ezer Weizman is commuting the long sentences of seven
Jews who were serving time for murdering or attempting to murder
Arabs. Arye Shumer, speaking on behalf of Weizman, explained that
the move was to "encourage the peace process." Releasing
Jewish murderers encourages the peace process?
Let me explain the theory: Weizman, and apparently Justice Minister
Hanegbi, think that those who oppose the release of Arab terrorists
will soften their stand if they are paid off. And the "payoff"
is the release of Jewish murderers. Now I am not going into the
backgrounds and stories of the Jews who murdered Arabs. If they
were crazy, or acted because of extenuating circumstances or any
other explanation that might be offered to justify a reduction
of the sentence of an individual murderer. Such matters should
be considered on an individual basis. These murderers should face
the same system that any other murderer in Israel faces. It should
have absolutely nothing to do with the socalled peace process.
The point is simple: when Weizman and Hanegbi think that they
can "pay off" opponents of the release of Palestinian
terrorists by releasing Jewish murderers they are asserting that
these opponents identify with the Jewish murderers.
Let me make it clear, and I am confident that I speak for the
overwhelming majority of those who oppose the release of terrorists
the Jewish murderers are not repeat not on "our"
side. I do not consider there any gain whatsoever in the release
of Jewish murderers. I am deeply insulted and offended by the
very idea that my president, Ezer Weizman and Tzachi Hanegbi think
that I and others identify with these Jewish murderers.
It pains me that while the overwhelming majority here in Israel
do not identify themselves with the release of Jewish murderers,
the opposite is the case for the Palestinians. The Palestinian
leadership calls for the release of all terrorists regardless
of how heinous their crime. The Palestinians argue that all terrorists,
regardless of what they did, were essentially soldiers. And as
soldiers, they maintain, the terrorists should be released since
the "war" is over.
But even wars have rules. That's why Adolf Eichman ended
up at the end of a noose in Israel rather than a ticker tape parade
2. Some Things You May Not Recall About Mordechai
Just some quick reminders about exDefense Minister Yitzchak Mordechai:
when he pressed for Israeli withdrawals he rarely remembered to
make withdrawal conditional on Palestinian compliance. As Akiva
Eldar noted this week in Ha'aretz, at a critical stage in the
Wye negotiations Mordechai had the hutzpa to reveal Netanyahu's
hand by telling US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright that
the suitcases Netanyahu ordered put outside to signal an imminent
departure were empty.
Mordechai says he opted "many times" to leave cabinet
meetings in order to avoid hearing inaccurate reports. Talk about
fulfilling his duties as a cabinet member! If he thought someone
was lying it was his obligation to do something about it. That's
what's needed and that's what the public wants. An IMRAcommissioned
Gallup Poll of adult Israeli Jews last Thursday found Israelis
opposed Mordechai's walkouts almost five to one.
On June 19, 1996, Netanyahu began his first full day in office
by establishing the National Security Council (NSC), a council
first proposed by the Agranat Commission that investigated the
foulups that preceded the Yom Kippur War. This was to be the
start of his hundred days. Unfortunately, Netanyahu dropped the
plan because thendefense minister Mordechai feared that the NSC
would encroach on his turf.
3. Barak's "E" word
As I noted several weeks ago, Ehud Barak has chosen to make the
use of the "E" word as an integral part of his campaign.
He keeps calling his political rivals extremists. He labels people
from the camp that opposes him "extremists".
It seems that in every interview he manages to fit in Zion Square,
the Rabin in a Gestapo uniform photo montage and the coffin at
Raananaa Junction. This is out and out incitement. When Netanyahu
was in Zion Square and every place else he made a point to
admonish those in the crowd with unacceptable placards to take
their signs down and denounced unacceptable slogans. That Barak
should even mention the photo montage is incredible since the
only reason it is known to the public is that a GSS agent, Avishai
Raviv, made a point of getting it televised in order to hurt the
As for the coffin in Raanana Junction Barak doesn't even try
to claim that it is Rabin's coffin anymore. He just calls it a
coffin. One of scores of coffin used in protests as a prop by
Israeli students, workers, Arabs and others.
Hopefully this heavy use of the "E" word will
backfire on Barak. After all, when you label such a large part
of the population "extremist" that's a lot of people
who won't vote Barak.
Dr. Aaron Lerner is the Director IMRA (Independent Media
Review & Analysis.