Why is it that when discussing politics, otherwise rational people go insane? No other field of study lures man into the depths of such muddled thinking.
The latest outrage is the renewed campaign to free a mass murderer from prison in the name of peace. Marwan Barghouti is serving five life sentences for masterminding a series of deadly terror attacks against Israeli civilians.
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Only in the sick world of Middle Eastern politics does this make him the ideal candidate to foster peace. Ha'aretz asks, “Why did Israel miss the golden opportunity to let Marwan Barghouti out of prison? Barghouti is one of the most forceful proponents of a peaceful solution of the Israel-Palestine conflict ...” Avinoam Bar Yosef recently wrote an article in The New York Times titled “Release Marwan Barghouti.” The reason? “[H]e and Tanzim [the group Bargouti helped found] represent the next generation of secular Palestinian leaders. One of the biggest mistakes of the Israeli establishment and American envoys over the past two years has been their failure to open back channels to Tanzim ...”
Wrong. One of the biggest mistakes of the Israeli establishment and American envoys of the past two decades -- let alone past two years -- has been their empowering of Palestinian autocrats and terrorists. The soft bigotry of low expectations, in other words. In what passes for conventional wisdom, only a man who has targeted civilians could have the credibility to lead the Palestinian people. What does this say about the Palestinian people? It is this thinking which led the West to fund and arm arch-terrorist Yasser Arafat and later his deputy.
Releasing an unrepentant murderer from prison is a human rights concern of the highest regard. Those who yearn for peace must stand firm against any such decision. Naturally, Israelis are at the forefront of the campaign to release the Palestinian murderer. No other people would be so crazy.
Shift the question to any other sphere, and instantly one recognizes how insane this proposition is. Want to solve financial corruption? Release Bernie Madoff and have him take over the Security and Exchange Commission! Why are we missing this “golden opportunity” to end financial corruption once and for all?
Want to solve murder in the U.S.? Release Charles Manson and appoint him chief liaison to the New York Police Department! Only he has the “credibility” to work with law enforcement and end violent deaths.
Concerned about domestic terrorism? Release the Unibomber, Ted Kaczynski, so he can quell terrorism against government agencies, particularly in Oklahoma.
It is too bad the Columbine shooters are not still alive to run for office so they could lead the crack-down on school violence and prevent such tragedies in the future.
Marwan Barghouti should not be let out of prison, for any reason whatsoever. He should spend the rest of his days pacing in his cell thinking about Fani, Maital, Udi and Nissim Dahan who will never see their father, Eli, again. Barghouti engineered the attack on two Tel Aviv restaurants which killed Dahan and several other civilians.
Why should Barghouti enjoy the freedom that he denied Yosef Habi, who was enjoying a night out in Tel Aviv with his wife, Haya? Barghouti’s assassins first shot Haya, and then Yosef ran to her rescue shouting “Don’t shoot!” but the terrorists killed him anyway. Now Yosef’s son Itzik and daughter Sima will never hug him again.
Releasing Marwan Barghouti would pervert justice, prevent peace and make a mockery of morality.
David Keyes is the executive director of Advancing Human Rights and co-founder of CyberDissidents.org. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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