a different side of Israel

Tag: Sheikh Ahmed Yassin

Embarrassing Family Feud or the Loud Voice of a Lion Heart

GiladAs Noam, Aviva and Yoel Schalit are coming to Jerusalem to address the Knesset, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s brother-in-law Dr. Hagi Ben-Artzi has publicly recommended that the Prime Minister quit his job rather than agree to release Palestinian prisoners in exchange for Schalit.

yasinThe religiously observant Ben-Artzi has long been outspoken about his right-wing convictions. He once threatened to move to Gush Katif and only leave in a coffin and has recently moved to the Holy West Bank town of Hebron. He told Army Radio on Monday that releasing Hamas spiritual leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin in a prisoner swap deal in 1997 led to the second intifada:

“Such a deal will lead to a vicious wave of terror…The results are very clear…And out of a great love for Bibi, I call on him not to take responsibility for the possible deaths of hundreds or thousands of Israelis on his shoulders…It will be huge encouragement for terror, and will bring big waves of attacks, as he himself has written in his books…If he signs the deal, it will prove he has no spine.”

The Prime Minister’s brother-in-law continued:

“He, more than anyone else, preached for 30 years a policy of fighting terror and opposing surrendering to terror… If you’re prime minister, you cannot compromise your ideals and go against you’re your declarations… Every solider that goes into battle knows that not only can he be captured, but wounded or killed. That’s the price we pay for fighting for our existence…The terrorists will get the message that kidnapping pays off.”

Then, in remarks directed at Bibi, Ben-Artzi said, “You were elected in accordance to the principles you believed in for 30 years, so if you cannot be true to them, go home, quit.”

“We meet and talk on a regular basis… and not only have I myself voiced such an opinion, but he has many times expressed his strong opposition [to releasing terrorists]. I was sure after he was elected…. that it would be the last thing he would do… If he cannot withstand the pressure, and feels public pressure – which I don’t know why exists – I say quit. Why take the responsibility for being the man about whom they will say ‘because of him, the third intifada broke out.'”

In one of Netanyahu’s books, “Fighting Terror,” he dedicated an entire chapter to the issue of negotiating with terrorists, and insisted that as a future leader, he would not give in to any form of blackmail and intimidation.

Crumbling under blinding global pressure is something we do not want to happen to the convictions of our Prime Minister. Giving into terrorist demands legitimizes their organizations and sends the wrong message. It undermines the authority of the State of Israel and proves that kidnapping IDF soldiers is effective.

Zvi Sela & The Good Sheikh Yassin

Sheikh Ahmed YassinIf any of you read an article in Friday’s Haaretz about an interview with former police psychologist Zvi Sela, now turned writer, you may have been as surprised as we were to read Sela’s remarks about deceased Hamas founder Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, whom Sela met with many times during Yassin’s imprisonment in Hadarim Prison, south of Raanana. Sela, who worked for many years as a senior police officer and has a PHD in educational psychology, told Haaretz reporter, Kobi Ben-Shalom, that Yassin, though cruel and ruthless, and responsible for most of the suicide bombings that were killing scores of Israelis during the mid 1990’s, was willing to have his Hamas organization recognize Israel as long as the Palestinians were given a state of their own. Sela said during the interview that “if we (Israel) had tried for an agreement with Yassin, we would have succeeded”. He also said that Yasser Arafat, with whom Israel was trying to negotiate, was in reality very corrupt, and that Hamas could not deal with him at all.

In regards to a final settlement, Yassin was quoted as saying: “I have no interest in destroying you – all I want is a state”.

Sela confessed his unhappiness that Israeli governments refuse to talk to Hamas leaders, saying that this is due to “the ego of our leaders”. During his two years of conversations with Yassin, Sela also had meetings with other imprisoned terrorists, including Samir Kuntar; who said he had not been responsible for the murders of Danny Haran and his daughter in Nahariya in the late 1970’s. Sela seems to paint a different picture of these people, whom many say return to terrorism immediately upon their release back to Gaza or Lebanon. In fact, Sela believes that long time terrorist internees, like Kuntar for instance, do not return to terrorism after being set free.

Return to active terrorism or not, these people certainly do not keep quiet about their feelings towards their former captors, as was seen from Yassin, before his assassination in 2004; and has been seen from Kuntar, who is being used as a symbol of resistance by another Sheikh, Hassan Nasrallah of the Hezbollah.

So are there some “good” terrorists and extremists, as far as Israel’s security is concerned? We’ll let everyone draw their own conclusions on this subject.

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