Neither strength nor moderation

Israel’s decision to release about 200 security prisoners is only the latest of dozens of such steps taken by the cabinet in the past several years. Invariably, the early release is justified as a “goodwill gesture” meant to move the peace process forward, or as a way of “strengthening the moderates” within the Palestinian Authority.

Not only do these diplomatically motivated prisoner releases antagonize and undermine Israel’s security agents, they have, obviously, been entirely uneffective at achieving their stated goals.

In a cogent and important analysis in today’s Jerusalem Post, Khaled Abu Toameh explains why this is so. He lays out why these gestures were unhelpful in the past, and why they remain unhelpful now. I’ll not restate his argument here, as it is long and thorough and worth reading on its own. I’ll only conclude with this quotation, which is as true as it is simple and honestly delivered:

The best way to strengthen the “moderates” at this stage is by putting pressure on them to reform the PA and end financial corruption and the state of lawlessness and chaos in the West Bank.

We need more straight talk from Khaled, and less nonsense from the cabinet!


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