Imagine for a second that Baruch Goldstein, the Jew who murdered 29 Palestinian Muslim worshipers and wounded another 125 at the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron in 1994, had not been beaten to death by survivors but rather captured, tried, convicted, and placed in a PA prison.
Imagine Goldstein had committed this act as part of an organization affiliated with Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s Likud party.
Now imagine if Netanyahu stated there could be no peace until Goldstein was released.
Furthermore, imagine that the PA decided to release Goldstein to advance the peace process, and thousands of Israelis celebrated his return to Israel, including PM Netanyahu.
How would the world react? I would imagine Netanyahu would be roundly condemned for his part in the murder of the palestinian worshipers, insisting on the release of the murderer, Israelis condemned for celebrating his release, and our peace process bono fides severely questioned.
Now imagine in this scenario, Netanyahu is really Mahmoud Abbas, Israelis are palestinians, and Baruch Goldstein is tens of palestinian terrorists imprisoned for the murders of many innocent Israelis.
Ok, don’t imagine. Because it happened.
Thousands of Palestinians gathered in Ramallah in the early hours of Wednesday morning to greet 21 prisoners released from Israeli custody to the West Bank as part of arrangements for the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian peace talks. Five other Palestinian prisoners were released earlier in Gaza. All 26 were convicted murderers, most of them jailed for crimes committed before the 1993 Oslo Accords.
Cheers rose from the crowd, many of whom held Palestinian and Fatah flags, cameras and AK-47s aloft, as the released men were carried on shoulders from the vans that had brought them from Ofer Prison to the Palestinian city. Celebratory gunfire, whistles and shouts of Allahu Akbar were audible above the din.
The prisoners were greeted in front of Yasser Arafat’s mausoleum next to the Palestinian Authority headquarters in Ramallah by assorted Palestinian dignitaries, led by President Mahmoud Abbas, who kissed and embraced each of the men in succession.
Addressing the assembled Palestinians, Abbas said there would be no peace treaty so long as there are Palestinian prisoners behind lock and key in Israel. He promised to continue in his efforts to free all the prisoners from Israeli incarceration.
I have to say I’m not hearing much condemnation for Abbas and his people.
You can read more about these released terrorists and their victims – which include some elderly people and a Holocaust survivor - here.