As 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.
The 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 terrorâ€¦The results are very clearâ€¦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 shouldersâ€¦It will be huge encouragement for terror, and will bring big waves of attacks, as he himself has written in his booksâ€¦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 terrorâ€¦ 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 existenceâ€¦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 basisâ€¦ 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 doâ€¦ 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.