Mawaz Abu Sharach and Majdi Amro are the two murderers of my seventeen year-old son, Asaf. They built the bomb belt, trained and coached the suicide murderer, motivated him, gave him intelligence on where to go to explode the bombs he was carrying, and drove him to his target. They were sentenced to 17 life sentences, one for each person, mostly children, they killed on the Haifa city bus their suicide terrorist boarded and exploded himself on. The two should have been sentenced to death and should have been executed. Instead they are in jail, getting visits from their families and hoping to be free one day. I don't have any hope any more: I buried my son and will not see him again.
The two terrorists were interviewed by the British Channel 4 on a program called, "Inside the Mind of a Suicide Bomber." They said, on camera, from an Israeli prison: "We will be released before our sentences' time; we will go back to terror because we must kill more Jews."
I watched the program with horror, and I believe them. They will be released and they will murder again.
Now my government, the Israeli government, is negotiating their release in return for the kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit.
Israel is negotiating a deal that would release 450 of the worst terrorists in the first phase, then another 530 as a "gesture to the Palestinian people." If you add the twenty released to get the videotape of Shalit -- two minutes of video as proof that he is still alive, we are releasing 1,000 of the worst terrorists this world has known. Some are sentenced to ten or more life terms for their part in terror attacks committed against Israelis in recent years. This is an unprecedented and extreme price, even in the crazy "human bazaar" of the Middle East.
We don't have a death sentence in Israel, so we are left to keep those mass murderers in jail, feed them, treat them and allow them to become even more motivated and experienced in the jails' "terror university."
Enormous efforts by Israel's security forces combined with Israel's security fence, built at a huge expense, reduced the terror flames down to a level Israelis can live with, to a situation in which terrorists don't explode on our streets on a daily basis. Releasing these terrorists will throw high octane fuel on the small fire we have now, and flames of terror will reach the Israeli public once again.
My government is ignoring all past statistics, which are well known, regarding the number of terrorists released in previous deals who went back to commit terror. We know that since 2000, 182 Israelis were killed by terrorists released in past deals. The security experts and the government ministers know that Israelis would be killed as a result of the deal currently being discussed, but they still insist on continuing the negotiations because Shalit's face and name are well known. But the faces and names of the future terror victims are anonymous -- for now.
If Hamas had suggested that Israel bring five Israelis to the fence near Gaza, shoot them and then Hamas would release Shalit, who would have taken Hamas seriously? Who would have agreed?
But since the names and faces of the future victims are not known, it is permissible to ignore all signs and past experience, and fantasize that nothing will happen.
Last week I met with my prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, to beg him to not release terrorists. I told him I am not motivated by hatred or revenge. From my point of view, if Israel awakens and releases Shalit only "one for one," I would agree that Mawaz Abu Sharach and Majdi Amro go free. I told him I fear for my living children and will do all I can so that my son Asaf's fate will not find them or other Israeli children.
Prime Minister Netanyahu must understand that Israel and every Israeli family cannot withstand more Israelis killed by terrorists. He must find any alternative way -- military, economic or political -- to bring Gilad Shalit home without putting any Israeli in harm's way. Concentrating only on the number of terrorists to be released brought us to where we are today.
Unfortunately, Israelis citizens would pay with their lives for their government's mistakes and for their government's wish to remove the three-year old the Shalit episode that sits like a lump on the government's back.
The meeting with the Prime Minister was long and serious. I watched his face and could see his internal struggle, his identification with what I said. I saw that he understands the situation very well. I left the meeting with great hope that the next steps will show a change in direction, a change that will increase Israel's security and Israelis safety.
Yossi Zur's son Asaf, then almost 17, was on his way back from school in March 2003, when the Haifa city bus he was on was blown up by a Hamas suicide bomber, in an attack that killed 17 people and wounded 53.