The Almagor Terrorist Victims Association has published a report on the results of Israel's release of imprisoned terrorists in prisoner exchanges. At least 30 recent terror attacks were perpetrated by terrorists who were released from Israeli jails.
Almagor conducted and published the report Iight of the apparent intention to release terrorists "without blood on their hands" - i.e., terrorists who did not succeed in murdering their victims - in exchange for one or more of the three kidnapped soldiers. Eldad Regev and Udi Goldwasser were kidnapped by Hamas nine months ago, and Gilad Shalit was kidnapped by Hamas two weeks earlier; Shalit is believed to be alive, but no positive sign has been heard from the others.
"It should be emphasized," the Almagor report states, "that the term 'without blood on their hands' portrays these terrorists as less dangerous - but in fact they are 'without blood on their hands' only because the Israeli security services managed to arrest them before they could murder, or because they were indirectly involved in murder, or the like. In actuality, they would be quite happy to be 'with blood on their hands.'"
Click here to hear Almagor Chairman Meir Indor speaking today with IsraelNationalRadio's Alex Traiman.
The 30 attacks perpetrated in recent years by terrorists freed in prisoner exchanges or otherwise killed no fewer than 177 innocent citizens, mostly Israeli Jews. Many were also serious wounded.
Almagor has found that a clear majority of freed terrorists returned to terrorism after their release - "leading to a price in human life many times greater than the grave difficulties faced by a given individual family."
"We therefore call upon the Israeli public," Almagor states, "not to be led astray by word games that make light of the terrorists' murderous intentions, and not to comfort ourselves with the hope that the next attack won't hit us or those close to us. We, victims of terrorism, know from our own bitter experience that for us, these were false illusions. As soon as the Tenenbaum exchange was completed [in Jan. 2004, when Israel released over 400 Arab prisoners in return for hostage Elchanan Tenenbaum and the bodies of three Israeli soldiers murdered by Hizbullah - ed.], Hizbullah began planning its next kidnapping - the results of which we all experienced in the war last summer. We call upon the public to totally oppose these vain and lethal exchanges, despite the emotional difficulties."
Between 1993 and 1999, 6,912 terrorists were freed. As of August 2003, 854 of them (12.4%) had been re-arrested for murderous activity. Another two-thirds of them returned to terrorist activity, be it in capacities of command, training or actual perpetration of attacks.
Among the attacks perpetrated by freed terrorists were:
* the lynching of two soldiers in Ramallah (Oct. 2000)
* shooting deaths of Binyamin and Talia Kahane (Dec. 2000)
* suicide explosions in Netanya, 8 dead (March and May, 2001)
* Sea Food Market suicide blast, 3 dead (March 2002)
* shooting in Atzmona yeshiva, 5 youths dead (March 2002)
* Park Hotel suicide bomber during Passover Seder, 30 dead (March 2002)
* bus blasts at Megiddo, Karkur, Jerusalem, 55 dead (June 2002 - June 2003)
* double suicide attacks in Be'er Sheva, 16 dead (August 2004)
Among the terrorists imprisoned and later released by Israel who were responsible for the above and other attacks are:
Marwan Barghouti - originally arrested in 1976; released; a leader of the first intifada; arrested and expelled to Jordan; allowed to return in 1994; became Tanzim terrorist leader in 2000, overseeing many terrorist attacks involving the murder of some 35 Israelis; arrested in 2002, sentenced to five life sentences; PA demands his release - Shabak objects.
Sheikh Ahmed Yassin - originally arrested in 1983; released a year later in the Jibril exchange; founded Hamas in 1987; arrested for ordering the kidnapping and killing of two soldiers and sentenced to life in prison; released in 1997, after the botched assassination of Khaled Mashaal; continued to organize terrorist attacks; killed by Israeli rockets in 2004.
Saleh Shehade - released from prison in 2000; headed the Hamas military wing; oversaw many attacks, including the infiltration into an IDF outpost in which four soldiers were murdered and the Atmonah murder of five youths; killed in IDF air attack in 2002.
Abdullah Abdel Kader Kawasme - first arrested in 1988; expelled to Lebanon in 1992; after his return, imprisoned again for Hamas membership and terrorist activity; released in 1994; oversaw many terror attacks, including over 40 deaths, and became known as "Father of the Ticking Time Bombs; killed by Israeli forces while trying to escape arrest in June 2003.
Karim Yunis Awis - sentenced to life in 1991 for killing informant; released several years later as part of the "gestures" to Palestinian Authority; dispatched two terrorists to murder two Israelis in Afula bus station in November 2001; dispatched terrorists to murder three Israelis in Jerusalem in March 2002; later that year, an IDF Military Court ruled that "the gesture [of his release] was not justified, and the heavy price was paid by many Israeli families."
Nasser Abu Hameid - arrested several times, sentenced to life in prison in 1990 for murdering informants; released in 1999 in the framework of the Sharm a-Sheikh agreement; Dec. 2000 - murdered Eli Cohen near Givat Ze'ev and the Kahane couple near Ofrah; Feb. 2002 - initiated two murderous attacks in Jerusalem area; Dec. 2002 -sentenced to seven life sentences.
Abbas Mahmad Alsid - imprisoned for leading riots in Tul Karem in 1993; released in 1996; convicted in 2003 of overseeing the Park Hotel massacre and other attacks.
Matsab Hashalmon - imprisoned in 2003 for terrorist organization membership; freed in 2004 in Tenenbaum exchange; oversaw double suicide attack in Be'er Sheva; now in Israeli prison.
Iad Sawalha - 1992 - imprisoned for involvement in murder of informants; 1993 - freed as part of Oslo prisoner exchange deals; June '92 - organized suicide terrorist who blew up bus in Jezreel Valley, killing 17; Nov. '02 - killed by IDF forces in Jenin.
Nidal Salameh - freed from prison as part of exchanges of 1999; later headed terrorist group in southern Gaza; oversaw many attacks; killed in IDF operation in April '03.