Almagor Letter: Stop Calling for Release of Terrorists
The Almagor Terror Victims Association published an open letter on Thursday to the six former high-ranking security officials who earlier this week urged Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to give in to Hamas’ demands for the release of kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit. The six, which include former Shin Bet heads Ami Ayalon, Karmi Gilon and Yaakov Perry, former Mossad head Danny Yatom, retired police major-general Alik Ron and Yom Kippur War hero Brig.-Gen. (res.) Avigdor Kahalani, urged Netanyahu to include terrorist murderers in the deal.
The six former security officials told reporters that a military operation to free Shalit is not possible and that Israel will be able to withstand the aftermath of a deal for Shalit.
The response letter, which was written by Almagor board member Dr. Aryeh Bachrach, whose son and his friend were killed by terrorists while on a hike, reads as follows:
On the 30th day since the slaughter in Itamar, I and my fellow active bereaved members of Almagor, who are acting against the release of terrorists, are calling on those senior government and security officials who called this week to release terrorists and make a deal with Hamas: Stop!
In the past you were partners to gestures and deals in which terrorists were released. You did not pay the price for those deals, but rather our loved ones did. You won’t pay for the risk you called to take this week, but Israeli families like ours will.
Stop with your repeated suggestions that not only bring up for us the memories of your past failures, but also encourage Hamas and frighten us about the future.
Here is the math: 183 Israelis have lost their lives since 2000 by terrorists who were released. Many others died in the years before that, including by terrorists released in the Jibril deal, which is the exact same deal as what you are offering now. There are many who were murdered and whose names we do not know, since their stories are hidden in the ISA interrogation files and have not been made public.
A notable exception is the two released Fatah terrorists who murdered Zehava Ben Ovadia and Paul Appleby after being released as part of the Jibril deal. They will again be released if G-d forbid your recommendation is accepted.
And we still have not talked about the 1,000 victims of the 2000 intifada who were murdered - though indirectly - in a very organized manner by former prisoners of Hamas and Fatah, among them Barghouti (Fatah) and Sheikh Yassin (Hamas).
Yassin was also released on the recommendation of some of you, in exchange for two security men detained in Jordan, with an evaluation that he is a disabled man and is thus not dangerous.
At that time you said, as you do now, that if he acts against us we will act against him, but until we were able to kill him, he initiated and commanded from his wheelchair a slew of mass terror attacks which killed and wounded hundreds of Israelis.
Barghouti is in prison a third time - after previous arrests and releases – and again is a candidate for release in your eyes.
We urge you to not only look at what’s popular, populistic and publicized, but rather at the whole picture, and the whole picture, if G-d forbid the Prime Minister answers your call, will be bleak.
On the 30th day since the murder of the Fogel family, we ask you to look into the future. What will happen if these terrorists, these predators, are released from their cages? All the deterrence that we created after the arrests and killings in recent years - after you left your posts – will be destroyed and what happened a month ago in Itamar may become a tsunami of terror. The images of the mass terror attacks will come back and chaos will rule our streets again.
We who already paid the price, some of us during your time in office, call to you - stop!
Let us beat Hamas rather than submit to it. We tried your methods and they brought us nothing but bereavement and grief. Now we hope to wage a struggle against terror and not to conduct dialogue with it.
We hope that the soldiers and their commanders persist in this struggle and that we will not be subject to interference from within, as was the case last week.
Dr. Aryeh Bachrach and 100 bereaved families