In Israel a few days ago, 26 Palestinians convicted of terrorism were released from Israeli prisons. Set free to return to their homes. Released so that Israel could have an opportunity to negotiate for the right to a seat at another negotiating table which might ultimately lead to a peace accord.
Why is this news? After all, more than 1050 Palestinian terrorist have been released since 2011.
Well all but two of the 26 who have been set free were convicted of murder and in some instances multiple murders. Not just the murder of Israelis, either. Some were convicted of murdering Palestinians. As a side note, the two not convicted of murder were actually convicted of being accessories to murder and attempted murder. In fact, one of them planted and lobbed multiple explosive devices including grenades that failed to go off. If he isn’t the poster child for attempted murder I don’t know who is.
This is a serious bad boy bunch. In fact, I think these guys would have felt right at home bunking down with Charles Manson.
However, for the pursuit of peace they were released.
I don’t want to question “why we released them”. I know the answer to that. Israel either bowed to international pressure led by Kerry and Obama or the Netanyahu-led government genuinely think that meeting the Palestinian request will actually lead to peace. No matter which or a combination thereof, the decision has been made by a democratically elected government and these guys are free. More importantly though, the Supreme Court of Israel ruled in favor of the release after some of the victims family sought to have it injuncted and stayed.
I do, however, question the media’s coverage.
Not one article I have read on the topic describes these 26 convicted terrorists as terrorists. They are across the board referred to as prisoners. In fact, even the State Department spokesperson who announced the release referred to them as just prisoners.
You see, prisoners are released all the time – terrorists are not. Particularly en mass at the behest of the terrorists themselves. So, in my opinion, the exchange in words – from terrorist to prisoner – although seemingly trivial has far reaching ramifications. One of which is that language swap goes someway to accepting that murderers who kill in the name of a cause (AKA terrorists) are just like any other murderer.
That it is not the case and not ok.
It is not ok to kill a 79 year old man with an axe. Not at all ok, considering he was sitting on a park bench reading a book in a sleepy little suburb called Kfar Saba. Especially because the now free perpetrator did it with the intention of driving fear into the hearts of the people in both Kfar Saba and Israel as a whole.
It is not ok to pummel a car with rocks with the intent of terrorizing and trapping its occupant inside and killing him by setting the car in which he was imprisoned alight. Especially when Amnon Pomerantz, the 46 year old who was the victim of this terror attack, simply made a wrong turn ending up somewhere he clearly shouldn’t have been.
Finally, it is not ok because calling these terrorists prisoners politicizes the deaths of the more than 26 killed by these now free men. It also undermines the grief of the families left in a constant state of mourning. And not just the immediate families of the 26 terrorists, but those families of anyone who has suffered as a result of the devastating and far reaching hand of terror organizations.
These are not just plain old murders. These men are not just simple convicts. They are murderers acting in the name of a cause. That is the dictionary definition of terrorism.
They should be referred to as such.
To all those who have lost someone as a direct result of terror or indirectly in the battle of terrorists – may you have consolation in the fact that there are some people out there who have not forgotten you. RIP to all our loved ones.