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Friday, August 31, 2007

More hypocrisy from Peres

This week, Israel's new President did exactly what many of us feared he would do as President: He effectively pardoned five Arab murderers by setting a specific number of years for their life sentences. The sentences - 35 years for three of them and 45 years for two who were convicted of a second murder - make the first three eligible for parole immediately (parole requires serving two thirds of a sentence and they have been in jail since 1983) and the last two eligible for parole in 2015.

But these weren't just any murderers. These five 'Israeli Arabs' kidnapped a 14-year old Jewish boy (I've seen some accounts that said 12 but 14 seems to be correct) from outside his Haifa home, brutally sodomized him and murdered him, his body being found in a cave outside the Arab village of Sakhnin several days later. Convicted of murder in 1985, their convictions were overturned, and a second trial at great cost to the Israeli taxpayer convicted them again in 1999. And they specifically said that they sodomized and murdered Danny Katz for nationalistic reasons. For those of you who think that Arabs don't commit rape for nationalistic reasons, please recall this.

Here's what Slimy Shimon had to say about his actions:
"The president understands the pain of the Katz family, whose son Danny was murdered by evildoers. In accordance with the procedure in effect since the day the country was established, the president is responsible for determining the commutation of a life sentence, and that is after the committee for reviewing life sentences, headed by a judge, submits its detailed recommendations to the Justice Ministry."
Hiding behind the committee and the Justice Ministry is a farce. By law, the decision is the President's - and the President's alone - to make.

There have been two sets of accusations made against Peres as a result of this case. One is that he pardoned Danny Katz HY"D's murderers in a bid to encourage Arabs to support the Olmert-Barak-Livni government. The other - even more sinister - claims that the pardons were payoff for the Arab parties' voting for Peres in the Presidential election. If that can be proven, it might even be grounds for impeachment, although that is unlikely with the current junta in power. At the time of the election, many people expected the Arab parties to vote for Likud candidate Ruby Rivlin, who is widely respected in the Arab community because his father is a noteworthy scholar of the Koran and translated it from Arabic to Hebrew.

But perhaps the most prescient comment of all surprisingly showed up on YNet's web site today, which is a bit of a surprise since YNet's parent - Yediot - is probably the second most leftist paper in the country after Haaretz:
It is possible that everyone acted in good faith and in accordance with the law, including members of the release committee and Justice Minister Friedmann. Yet there is still something that bothers me: Several years ago, the law allowing for a reduction in the sentence of murderers was amended, so that if a person assassinated a prime minister because of a political-ideological motive, he will never be released.

That being the case, why can't we apply the same standard to Arabs who murdered a mere Jewish boy, and not a prime minister, because of a similar motive?
Good question. And one I'm sure convicted assassin Yigal Amir's family is asking too. But don't expect Peres - or anyone else - to set any date for Amir's release. The double standard continues.

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