Israeli media are offering details about the gruesome crimes committed by the first Palestinian prisoners set to be released Tuesday as a condition the Palestinian Authority set for renewing peace talks sponsored by the Obama administration.
Among the first 26 of the 104 long-held prisoners to be released before serving out their sentences are those convicted of murdering the elderly - including one Holocaust survivor - using axes, rods and in one case chopping off the victims’ ears.
Victim advocates are blasting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government for caving to U.S. and Palestinian pressure, while the Palestinian Authority has launched a diplomatic campaign to rebrand the murderers as “freedom fighters.”
One Israeli blogger is accusing President Barack Obama of hypocrisy for pressuring Israel to free terrorists when just this weekend his administration expressed outrage over Mexico releasing a drug lord from prison 12 years before the end of his sentence. As the Associated Press reports, Rafael Caro Quintero had ordered the 1985 kidnapping and killing of U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agent Enrique Camarena.
While the Department of Justice called Mexico’s decision "deeply troubling,” the Israeli move to free convicted murderers was part of a deal Secretary of State John Kerry brokered last month to restart peace talks.
The Times of Israel reports on those set to be released:
- Abu-Musa Salam Ali Atia of Fatah murdered a construction site colleague, Holocaust survivor Isaac Rotenberg, in 1994, repeatedly striking the 67-year-old in the neck. According to the terror victims advocacy group Almagor, Rotenberg’s family was killed in the Sobibor extermination camp during World War II. Rotenberg escaped and joined a group that fought the Nazis in the forests of Eastern Europe.
- Ra’ai Ibrahim Salam Ali attacked 79-year-old Moris Eisenstatt while the elderly man was reading a book on the beach, striking the victim in the head repeatedly with an ax.
- Ramahi Salah Abdallah Faraj axed 84-year-old Avraham Kinstler to death in 1992 after Kinstler arrived to work at his orchard.
- Salah Ibrahim Ahmad Mugdad killed 72-year-old hotel security guard Israel Tenenbaum in 1993 with blows to the head with a steel rod.
- In another disturbing incident relayed by the Times of Israel, Abu Satta Ahmad Sa’id Aladdin and Abu Sita Talab Mahmad Ayman murdered two Israelis in 1994, David Dadi and Haim Weizman and then decided to sleep in Weizman’s apartment. As proof of the killing, the terrorists cut off their victims’ ears.
Chairman of the Almagor terror victims’ group Meir Indor decried the government decision to release the terrorists, saying that "the terror groups defeated the Netanyahu government."
Yisrael Medad writes on the blog My Right Word, “it will weaken Israel - not only at the diplomatic negotiating table but in a moral sense - and strengthen the concept of Palestinianism that is predicated on terror…”
Medad - who first pointed out the irony of the Obama administration’s criticism of Mexico for the drug lord’s release while it blessed the Palestinian terrorist release – writes, “In Hebrew, we say, 'what goes around, comes around' or middah k'neged middah.”
Haaretz obtained a letter that Palestinian ambassadors are being asked to relay to foreign ministries worldwide claiming those being released are “freedom fighters” not terrorists.
The letter asserts it is Israel that is terrorizing the Palestinians. "A terrorist is someone who forcefully occupies the other's land, expels him and comes to live in his place," the letter read according to Haaretz, "…not the Palestinian political prisoner, the freedom fighter."
The letter likens the construction of Israeli homes to terrorism and says, "the Israelis are hiding the face of the Israeli terrorist, who forcefully occupies the land of the other people, expels them, destroys what makes up their everyday life and replaces them with foreign settlers."
"They distort the image of the Palestinian freedom fighter, who struggles against the occupation and fights in accordance to international law," the letter added.