Would Anyone Dream of Freeing Itamar Murderers in Prisoner Swap?
Frimet Roth, whose daughter Malki was murdered in the 2001 Sbarro suicide blast, asks: Who would even dream of freeing Itamar terrorists for Shalit?
At his shiva visit to the families of the victims of Friday's terror attack, Prime Minister Netanyahu told the mourners: "These terrorists are not people; they are monsters". At a press conference he referred to them as "animals".
But his words fell short of the truth. Last week's murderers are not rare or pathological.
Hundreds of Israeli children have been murdered in cold blood in the past decade by very similar people. Some of those terrorists relied on knives, some on bullets, others on bombs.
My own daughter's murderer, Ahlam Tamimi, a Hamas operative, favored a suicide bomber. She walked her weapon of choice through downtown Jerusalem, found a site teaming with children and babies and pointed him at it. She then abandoned her weapon and fled to safety. (Malki Roth is shown in picture).
A mother, a father and three of their eight children – just as in Itamar – were among the 15 victims.
Prime Minister Netanyahu has been under intense local and foreign pressure to release Tamimi along with other mass murderers in order to win Sergeant Gilad Shalit's release from his Hamas kidnappers.
Would anyone dream of including the Itamar murderers in such a prisoner swap? Would anyone suggest reliance on their "signed declaration" that they will never again engage in terrorism? Would anyone urge commuting their consecutive life sentences to a couple of years in order to return them to the society that created them?
This is precisely what is currently being demanded of our government vis-a-vis other cold-blooded mass murderers. Why this double standard?
We must resist the heat-of-the-moment temptation to deem this an isolated and uniquely barbaric act as did Defense Minister Ehud Barak. In an interview on Israel's Channel 2 he said: "This murder is a terrible murder".
Is there another sort?
In a similar vein, Ynet's Chanoch Daum labeled the perpetrators "blood-thirsty psychopaths". MK Levy-Abekasis called them: "predators who.....are not worthy of a trial or of any other human process." She added that "In this case it is important for us to act according to the eye for an eye rule – a life for a life".
First, this attitude can lead to the contention that these terrorists were compelled to murder by uncontrollable impulses - i.e. the insanity defense. Second, it implies that the rest of the Palestinians, who are undoubtedly human beings, do not share these murderous inclinations or desires.
Both presumptions are false.
The man or woman who slaughtered the Fogel family made a conscious decision to murder and as such deserves to be tried, convicted and punished.
Furthermore, he or she lives in a society, whether it be in Judea and Samaria or in Gaza, that instills such thought and promotes such action from birth. As Itamar Marcus wrote in the JPost, "The PA continues to use all the structures it controls to demonize Israelis and to promote violence."
And as we all know, Gazans in Rafiah celebrated the Itamar murders with mass distributions of candies and sweets on the streets as documented by these Getty photos.
The chilling truth that Israel has many evil neighbors mere kilometers away is one that the West and our home-grown leftists find hard to fathom. It does not jive with their all-embracing "kumbaya" outlook on the world.
But we who live beside them must fathom it; our survival demands it. And this week we had it proven to us with a vengeance. It is critical for us to keep the shocking images of the murdered Fogel family fresh in our minds. Only then, with the caution that such a reality compels, can we wisely tackle the urgent mission of rescuing Gilad Shalit.
Frimet Roth is a freelance writer in Jerusalem. Her daughter Malki was murdered at the age of 15 in the Sbarro restaurant bombing (2001). She and her husband founded the Malki Foundation (www.kerenmalki.org) which provides concrete support for Israeli families of all faiths who care at home for a special-needs child.