News and politics can be bizarre. Over the past few years, we're heard Todd Akin assert that victims of "legitimate rape" are rarely impregnated, Sarah Palin declare that she can see Russia from Alaska, and read about a man who had his face eaten off. So perhaps it won't come as a surprise that mainstream media coverage of Israel's plans to free 26 Palestinian prisoners -- 17 of whom had killed Israelis -- have not only failed to question a status quo in which freeing killers is a precondition for peace, but some newspapers have actually criticized Israel from not freeing enough terrorists.
In the most recent issue of The Economist (August 17th), it ran an article entitled "Why They Count: The Release of Prisoners Touches Palestinians to Their Core," in which it lambasted Prime Minister Netanyahu for his meek attempts to placate the Palestinians as an overture for peace. It complained that "What Palestinians want as a sign of good intent, is the release of thousands, not scores, of their compatriots." It went so far as to imply that freeing such a "tiny a share of the 5,071 Palestinians said to be behind bars for politically motivated acts of violence or subversion" meant Israel was unserious about making peace with the Palestinians.
The Palestinians couldn't agree more. The Los Angeles Times reported that despite the fact that the release occurred in the middle of the night, "thousands of Palestinians greeted the men like returning war heroes, with fireworks and boisterous celebrations." Upon his release, Taher Zayod, 42, who was serving a 21-year sentence for a 1992 shooting attack and an attempted killing of an Israeli police officer, told the Times that, "There will never be peace until Israel releases all the prisoners."
Who are these so-called freedom fighters that Israel is so maliciously detaining?
Abu Masa and an accomplice attacked Isaac Rotenberg, a 67 plasterer, who escaped the Sobibor extermination camp in Nazi Germany. As a result of the repeated blows to the neck with axes, Rotenberg died two days later. Kour Matwah Hamad Faiz of Fatah, was convicted of killing Menahem Dadon and Salomon Abukasis and planning to kill then-prime minister Yitzhak Shamir. Uncontrollably stabbing at passengers, Sualha Fazah Ahmed Husseini and Sualha Bad Almajed Mahmed Mahmed killed 24-year-old Baruch Heizler and wounded three young women on a crowded Ramat Gan bus. The list goes on.
There is much to be learned from the media and Palestinian reaction to the release of these vicious killers. First, the media has accepted as a normal state of affairs that Israel's obligation is to appease its enemies. It holds this not as a gesture of good will, but rather as one of Israel's basic obligations. Second, it has become numb to the taste of blood. It no longer responds with revulsion to a global political order that holds freeing killers as a natural part of the peace process. Finally, some of our most trusted news sources have become so intent on promoting the Palestinian agenda, that they have abandoned justice. Imagine if they advocated for simply sending convicted terrorists in America back to their home countries. Congress, the media, and the American public would be up in arms.
The Palestinian response bodes ill for long-term peace in the Middle East, even if an agreement were to be reached at the current summit. The leaders of the Palestinian Authority, and the most vocal members of the Palestinian population of the West Bank, have chosen to glorify coldblooded killers of Israeli civilians. If a man's hero is what he aspires to be some day, then Palestinians politicians are telling their constituents that they ought to become martyrs, brutally killing Israeli civilians. As an independent nation, the Palestinian Authority would be anything but good neighbors. And let's not forget that Hamas has refused to even come to the negotiating table. So much for solving the Arab-Israeli conflict.