Time for America and Egypt to Chip In Pollard and Azzam Azzam

Dr. Aaron Lerner - IMRA's Weekly Commentary - June 26, 2003

Releasing terrorists, especially terrorist murderers, is bad policy: It is immoral to arbitrarily shorten their sentences. It puts them back into circulation and it encourages others to attack, confident that they too will ultimately be released.

That said, it is my impression that we will witness the release of terrorists in the future. And if it is reasonable to assume that such releases may take place in the future, it is necessary to prepare now to make the most of this. And with the Americans pressing hard for photo opportunities, the sooner these preparations are made the better.

The United States continually presses Israel to release terrorists as a "contribution" and "sacrifice" for the "process". Egypt also encourages Palestinian demands for Israel to release terrorists.

It is time to set the stage by public pronouncements and activities by both politicians and the families of victims of terror. To make it clear that the release of terrorists is a painful sacrifice for Israel. That Israel must not be the only party to make such a "sacrifice for peace". That if America and Egypt feel no compunction insisting that Israel release terrorist murders, that they should be willing to also chip in their contribution" by releasing Jonathan Pollard and Azzam Azzam.

[Azzam Azzam is a Druse Israeli who is imprisoned in Egypt on charges of receiving underwear soaked in invisible ink while working in an Israeli-owned textile plant in Cairo. Yes, underwear soaked in invisible ink.]

Again, it would be best if all the terrorists remained behind bars - but if there is a possibility that Prime Minister Ariel Sharon will fold to American pressure on this issue it would be irresponsible to ignore the opportunity to finally bring Jonathan Pollard and Azzam Azzam home.