Shalom Rachum, whose son Ophir was murdered after being lured to Ramallah by a female terrorist in 2001, said on Tuesday that the mass hunger strike by terrorist prisoners in Israeli jails is a symptom that began with the Shalit deal.
Amna Muna, the female terrorist who lured Rachum's son Ophir to Ramallah, was one of over 1,000 terrorists who were released as part of the deal Israel reached with Hamas in October of 2011 to secure the release of abducted soldier Gilad Shalit.
Speaking to Arutz Sheva about the hunger strike used by terrorists as a tactic to bring about their release, Rachum said, "This is exactly what we said back then, a little more than a year ago, that the Shalit deal will only encourage them and bring us to a situation where we will end up releasing all of them from prison.”
He said that Arabs have thoroughly studied and fully understand Israel’s weaknesses. “We were weak in the Gilad Shalit deal, and today, ahead of Obama’s visit to Israel, they demonstrate and start hunger strikes to get Israel to carry out more gestures ahead of the visit,” said Rachum.
He called on Israel’s leaders to show determination in the face of the continued riots by Palestinian Authority Arabs and said, “The security forces are skilled enough to handle such situations, but instead of putting the rioters in their place, they take cover. They throw rocks so the IDF runs, and this encourages them to throw more rocks. They know our weaknesses and take advantage of them.”
PA Arabs have been rioting throughout Judea and Samaria for months, and this week have used the death of a terrorist in an Israeli prisoner as an excuse to justify their rioting. Last week they intensified the riots as a sign of solidarity with four terrorists who are serving time in Israeli prisons and who have gone on a hunger strike as a pressure tactic to get Israel to release them.
The four are Samer Issawi, Tareq Qaadan, Jafar Ezzedine and Ayman Sharawna. All four were released as part of the Shalit deal but were rearrested after they violated the terms of their release.
Israel’s defense establishment said Friday that the prisoners currently on hunger strike in Israel were jailed for good reason. The reminder came in the wake of statements of concern from the United Nations and European Union.