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Mission A Guide to Perplexed

On the issue of release of Palestinian prisoners

by Yitzhak Frankenthal  29.07.2013 A Palestinian bereaved father approached me and told me he envied me. According to him, his 5 years old daughter was killed by IDF soldiers and the Palestinian Authority cannot prosecute the culprit since A. It is not known who the soldier is. B. Even if it were, there is no Palestinian government capable of doing so. According to him over 5,000!!! innocent Palestinians and Palestinians uninvolved with terror activities have been killed by Israel in the last years. Imagine this, he told me, that if we succeeded arresting the murders of our children and civilians, and would lock them up for a life’s sentence, what a ruckus you would have made in order to set them free. He added and said, see, when you fought the British, Menachem Begin and other Israelis were proclaimed as terrorists, and here, you established a state and Menachem Begin even became Prime Minister. Your problem, told me the bereaved father, is that you only see yourselves and not us, but even that you’re doing all wrong, if you’d really do the math honestly, you’d realize that it’s our duty to resist against you as occupiers, just as you fought the British. If you did the maths honestly you’d realize that freeing Palestinian prisoners is the equivalent to the freeing of your prisoners by the Hezbollah or the Hamas. 

Also he told me, you lost your son Arik while he was a soldier serving in the IDF, and was kidnapped by the Hamas, and you understood immediately that Arik wasn’t killed for being Arik but for being a soldier and because we have duty to fight against the occupier. But do you understand that to us every Israeli is a soldier? Every Israeli represents an occupier to us? I agree with you, he told me, that there are some contemptible people amongst us that kill in a sadistic way such as the murderers of the children of the Falk family and the murderer of the baby Shalhevet Pass, but those are inhumane bests and are exceptions. 

To conclude, you have bereaved families that have “their” Palestinian prisoner- the prisoner that killed their child and was caught- yet we have thousands of bereaved families who do not have “their” Israeli prisoners. Do those bereaved families “have the right” to stop the progress of peace? We, he said to me, support peace though we do not have our “own” Israeli prisoner.  Also the pilot that felt a light shake in his jet’s wing as he fired a bomb that weighs a ton on a house full of children, isn’t “our” prisoner. Is it not the time that bereaved families should be the first to fight for peace and reconciliation? Do Israeli bereaved families only seek revenge and the continuation of bloodshed? Does revenge bring them back their children? Do they not understand that the continuation of the conflict will endanger themselves and their remaining children?  

We separated in tears, since I’ve been to his home and have seen the photograph of his 5 year old daughter, and knew that my son Arik was 19 when he fell, and lived to be 19 years, while his daughter only lived to be 5 years old. Arik fought his murderers, yet she, a 5 year old that didn’t even raise a stone against the occupier, was killed. I felt a deep affection to my friend, for even though he lost his 5 years old daughter he hasn’t lost his desire for peace. On the contrary, he wishes for peace for those in his household still alive. And I asked myself, how is it that Israeli families are fighting against the freeing of Palestinian prisoners, which might endanger the rest of their families. Why do some of the bereaved Israeli families believe the blood of their loved ones to be redder than the blood of the Palestinian dead?  

   

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