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Most terrorists freed in political deals resume violence

Freed terrorists are feted upon their return to Judea, Samaria and eastern Jerusalem.

Palestinians in Hebron, in Judea, rally in support of Hamas in Gaza, Nov. 24, 2023. Photo by Wisam Haslmaoun/Flash90.
Palestinians in Hebron, in Judea, rally in support of Hamas in Gaza, Nov. 24, 2023. Photo by Wisam Haslmaoun/Flash90.

“We are the sword of Mohammed Deif,” declared Roda Abu Agamiya, referring to Hamas’s shadowy terror chief in the Gaza Strip.

Abu Agamiya is one of more than 200 Palestinian terrorists Israel has released over the last week as part of the ceasefire deal with Hamas, and who have been feted upon their return to Judea, Samaria and eastern Jerusalem.

Videos of Palestinians celebrating with the freed terrorists have gone viral, despite Israeli National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir’s instruction to police to employ “an iron fist” to prevent such glorification.

In one video, terrorists are paraded around on supporters’ shoulders as a crowd waves PLO flags.

Another example is the joyous welcome in Bethlehem for Fatima Shaheen, who stabbed 36-year-old Gush Etzion resident and father of three Noam Anisfeld on April 17, 2023.

 “I’m not afraid. This isn’t about me. Releasing murderers and those convicted of attempted murder is a terrible thing, morally and for public safety,” Anisfeld, who suffered knife wounds to his abdomen, told JNS.

“Perhaps we had to [release them] to save innocent hostages, but this must reinforce our commitment to destroy the terror organizations completely,” he added.

Israa Jaabis, who had been in prison since 2015 after being convicted of detonating a gas cylinder that wounded an Israeli police officer, was feted as a hero upon her release on Saturday, with a halo of flowers placed on her head.

Jaabis’s case achieved some notoriety when she filed a request with the Israel Prison Service for state-funded reconstruction surgery to repair the severe burns the explosion left on her face and hands. Her request was denied.

The Almagor Terror Victims Association previously released a study that found that 80% of Palestinian terrorists released in political deals resumed their violent activities.

Lt. Col. (res.) Meir Indor, chairman of the organization, has long fought against the practice. In 1985, he opposed the so-called Jibril deal, in which 1,150 terrorists were freed in exchange for three IDF soldiers kidnapped during the First Lebanon War.

“Whoever tries to hurt innocent people should be executed, or at least imprisoned for a lifetime,” Indor told JNS. “Through our petition [to block the latest deal], we wanted to show the enemy that the spirit of the Jewish nation is not weak,” he added.

The truce arrangement came into effect on Nov. 24, with Israel agreeing, in addition to a cessation of hostilities, to release 150 Palestinian terrorists in exchange for 50 of the estimated 240 Israelis and foreign nationals kidnapped during Hamas’s Oct. 7 massacre of 1,200 people in northwestern Negev. The deal was subsequently extended on two occasions.

“I ask myself who is going to pay for this deal. There is no question that those who were massacred on Oct. 7 paid for the Shalit deal,” said Indor. In 2011, Israel freed 1,027 Palestinian terrorists in exchange for Hamas captive soldier Gilad Shalit.

“While some voices in the Palestinian camp do call for peace and for two neighboring separate states living in peace, much of the Palestinian public consider terrorists, who have been charged and convicted by Israel, to be heroes fighting on behalf of their nation,” Avi Melamed, a former Israeli intelligence official, told JNS.

Ahed Tamimi, 22, who became internationally known for confronting IDF soldiers when she was a teenager, was arrested on Nov. 6 for incitement to terror. She was then released on Wednesday.

Tamimi had published a post on Instagram a week before her arrest saying that Palestinians would “slaughter” the Jews of Judea and Samaria.

“Our message to the settlers, we are waiting for you in all the cities of the West Bank. From Hebron to Jenin, we will slaughter you, and you will say that what Hitler did to you is a joke,” Tamimi’s Instagram post said.

“We will drink your blood and eat your skull. Come on, we’re waiting for you,” the post continued.

Another Tamimi, Aya, who was released on Tuesday, had been arrested for posting photos of Oct. 7 victims’ funerals with the caption: “May God intensify your sadness, divide your people, and increase your pain, such a happy sight. Death to Israel. Death to the unjust.”

According to Dan Diker, president of Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs (JCPA), Israel has been “taken hostage by Hamas, which is dictating the terms of the agreement and the rhythm of the exchange as part of its deception strategy.

“A Nazi-like ISIS-like jihadi death cult has increased its legitimacy in the West and created what’s perceived as a balance of legitimacy between two warring sides,” Diker told JNS.

 Lt. Col. (res.) Maurice Hirsch, who directs the JCPA’s Initiative for Palestinian Authority Accountability and Reform, noted that the freed Palestinian terrorists are not under movement restrictions.

“These terrorists are not rehabilitated,” he told JNS. “To them, their path is justified and violence restores their freedom. As such, their return to terrorism is practically immediate.

“From my experience with military prosecution,” continued Hirsch, “well over half of the terrorists released as part of a deal returned to terrorism, including those released from life sentences.”

Yahya Sinwar, the current chief of Hamas in Gaza and believed to be the mastermind behind the Oct. 7 terror attacks, was released as part of the 2011 Shalit deal.

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