American Secretary of State John Kerry returned to Israel on January 2 for his tenth visit since March 2013 - reportedly bringing with him his own framework for peace designed to end the Arab-Jewish conflict that has eluded many attempts by others during the last 93 years - including the League of Nations and the United Nations.
Kerry's visit was immediately preceded by Israel releasing 26 long term Palestinian Arab prisoners convicted of murder and other serious criminal offences – the third in a projected release of 104 such similar prisoners.
Israel had agreed to their release following pressure by Kerry on Israel to induce PLO leader Mahmoud Abbas to resume negotiations with Israel four years after they had been abruptly terminated by Abbas.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pulled no punches in telling Kerry:
A few days ago in Ramallah, President Abbas embraced terrorists as heroes. To glorify the murders of innocent women and men as heroes is an outrage. How can President Abbas says – how can he say that he stands against terrorism when he embraces the perpetrators of terrorism and glorifies them as heroes? He can't stand against terrorists and stand with the terrorists. And I'm wondering what a young Palestinian would think when he sees the leader of the Palestinian people embrace people who axed innocent men and women – axed their heads or blew them up or riddled them with bullets – what's a young Palestinian supposed to think about the future? What's he supposed to think about what he should do vis-a-vis Israelis and vis-a-vis the state of Israel? So it's not surprising that in recent weeks Israel has been subjected to a growing wave of terrorist attacks. President Abbas didn't see fit to condemn these attacks, even after we learned that at least in one case – I stress, at least in one case – those who served and are serving in the Palestinian security forces took part in them.
Among the 26 released were:
Yakoub Muhammad Ouda Ramadan, Afana Mustafa Ahmad Muhammad, and Da'agna Nufal Mahmad Mahmoud - convicted of stabbing Sara Sharon, 37, to death in Holon on January 20, 1993.
Abu Mohsin Khaled Ibrahim Jamal - convicted of the ambush and murder of Shlomo Yahya, a 76-year-old gardener, in a public park in Moshav Kadima and stabbing him to death.
Barham Fawzi Mustafa Nasser - convicted for the murder of Morris (Moshe) Edri 65 - a former employer of Nasser who Nasser ambushed and stabbed in the back. After his apprehension, Nasser said he had carried out the murder to prove he was worthy of joining Hamas.
Yusuf Ahmed Nu'aman Al-Shalvi, Mahmad Anis Aiman Jaradat, and Ahmad Yusuf Bilal Abu-Hassin, - convicted of murdering multiple Palestinians suspected of collaborating with Israel.
Muammar Ata Mahmoud Mahmoud and Salah Khalil Ahmad Ibrahim - convicted of murdering Menahem Stern, a history professor at Hebrew University. Stern, 64, a winner of the prestigious Israel Prize, was stabbed to death while walking to work at the university's Givat Ram campus on June 22, 1989.
Abu Hadir Muhammad Yassin Yassin – convicted for the murder of Yigal Shahaf - shooting him in the head as he and his wife were walking through Jerusalem's old city toward the Western Wall.
the PLO refuses to recognize Israel as the Jewish National Home,
Abbas has made it abundantly clear that no Jews will ever be accepted as citizens in a Palestinian State,
Arab murderers of Jewish civilians are received as heroes in Ramallah and given blood money to reward their heinous acts and
Convicted murderers are once again free to plan and even participate in future terrorist acts against Jews
Netanyahu also told Kerry to his face:
In the six months since the start of peace negotiations, the Palestinian Authority continues its unabated incitement against the state of Israel. This Palestinian Government incitement is rampant. You see it in the state-controlled media – the government-controlled media – in the schools, in textbooks, in kindergartens. You see it at every part of Palestinian society. So instead of preparing Palestinians for peace, Palestinian leaders are teaching them to hate Israel. This is not the way to achieve peace. President Abbas must lead his people away from terror and incitement, towards reconciliation and peace.
Kerry failed to address the virulent Jew hatred motivating Palestinian Arabs to murder Jews and Palestinian Arabs suspected of collaborating with Jews, ignored the adulation afforded these convicted murderers by Abbas and remained silent on the rampant incitement conducted on a daily basis against Israel.
Instead - Kerry - apparently languishing in a time warp - sought to provide some comforting reassurance for Netanyahu with his following remarks:
On a personal level, last month I travelled to Vietnam on my first visit there as Secretary of State. And the transformation in our relationship – I was a young soldier who fought there – the transformation in our relationship is proof that as painful as the past can be, through hard work of diplomacy history's adversaries can actually become partners for a new day and history's challenges can become opportunities for a new age.
How can there possibly be any transformation in the relationship between Jews and Arabs when Kerry's framework for peace is destined to go nowhere until this long running Arab enmity of Jews is completely eradicated.
One wonders how long Kerry will take to understand this simple message.
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