Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is putting spokes in the wheels of the prisoner exchange deal, Hamas official Abdullah Barghouti said at the Nazareth District Court Sunday.Why is Israel contemplating any such prisoner release under those terms? It shouldn't. It further shows the fallacy of the equality of any prisoner swap - where Israel releases hundreds of terrorists for one of its own citizens in return. It's an unconscionable decision to make and while it is heartbreaking for the Shalit family, the release of hundreds of terrorists only emboldens and strengthens the very terrorist group dedicated to Israel's destruction and who was responsible for Shalit's captivity for so long.
Barghouti, who is serving 67 life sentences for murdering 66 Israelis and being an accomplice in the murder of others, is one of the prisoners Israel is refusing to release in an exchange deal that would bring IDF soldier Gilad Schalit back home. Schalit has been in Hamas captivity for almost four years.
Israel brought Barghouti to court to ask to extend the conditions of his solitary confinement.
Upon arrival, he confidently told reporters, “If there is a deal, I would be set free along with Marwan Barghouti and Ahmad Sa’adat.” Marwan Barghouti and Sa’adat are other ‘high-value’ prisoners convicted of multiple counts of murder.
Barghouti also said, “After my release, I will continue to fight for Palestine, so long as the occupation continues.”
Israel should make no deal under these circumstances.
Hamas should be forced to release Shalit unconditionally and immediately. Where is the international pressure to force his release? It's all on Israel to conduct a prisoner swap, even if it means releasing terrorists from Israeli jails who have the blood of Israelis on their hands and that many will go back to carrying out the jihad against Israel's existence.
Meanwhile, you've got Turkish leader Erdogan claiming that the Tomb of the Patriarchs and Rachel's Tomb, which Israel labeled as national heritage sites, will never be anything but Islamic sites. In fact, he claims Rachel's Tomb was never Jewish in the first place. Really? Ever read a Bible? Those sites are specifically mentioned and the Jewish connection stretches back more than 3,000 years to those sites. They were Jewish sites long before Islam was founded. It's yet another sign of Islam's intention to wipe any and all Jewish historical traces from the landscape.
This is the enemy that Israel faces - and Erdogan is from the relatively Westernized Turkey. If he's pushing this meme, what does it say about the more extremist groups throughout the region that deny Israel's very existence.
Mahmoud Abbas, head of Fatah and the PA say that Israel is pursuing a religious war. That's nothing short of projection given that Fatah's (and Hamas') charter are explicit in their calls for jihad and the obliteration of Israel. Israel can and must protect itself from such threats and cracking down on rioters who stone visitors to the Temple Mount is not engaging in a religious war; those rioters, however are - pursuing jihad by any means necessary and hoping to inflame an already explosive situation.
The riots on Friday at the Temple Mount came specifically after the usual Friday sermons calling for such violence. It's not a coincidence. It's planned:
Eighteen policemen were lightly wounded in their attempt to restore order on the Temple Mount after Arab youths emerging from Friday prayers started hurling rocks down onto those worshiping at the Western Wall.Those sites are being preserved - with a shared Jewish and Muslim heritage, and that's simply unacceptable to the Islamists who want to eliminate the Jewish ties to them.
Having restored calm by use of stun grenades, and following helpful intervention by other Muslim worshipers to defuse the clash, police eventually withdrew in coordination with the Waqf to allow older worshipers to leave the Temple Mount.
Eight of the injured policemen were hospitalized in light condition. Five suspects were arrested during the riots.
Ron Krumer, a spokesman for Jerusalem's Hadassah Medical Center, confirmed an Arab woman was wounded in the head by a rubber bullet and hospitalized in serious condition. Palestinian medics reported 13 injuries.
Police denied using rubber bullets to disperse the riot.
Najeh Btirat, a Waqf official, said the clash followed a mosque sermon on the issue.
"The Friday sermon focused on the Islamic sites that are being targeted by Israel and the need to preserve them," he said. About 300 young men threw stones at police after prayers, he said.
Rock-throwing then spilled over into Jerusalem's Muslim Quarter. Police deployed stun grenades, restoring calm.
Throughout the afternoon, stun grenades fired by security forces could be heard exploding in the Muslim Quarter. The faces and bloodshot eyes of Arab medics, who could be seen running through the alleyways, clearly reflected the usage of tear gas. Crowds were milling around waiting for something to happen.
It's unacceptable that opinion continues to run against Israel for trying to protect the rights of Jews to visit and practice their religion at Judaism's holiest locations even as Islamists deny the history that Jews have ties to those locations at all. This is revisionist history in action and it must be confronted.