From previous prisoner-exchanges, we saw that 20-25 percent of released terrorists return to terrorist activity. Another 30 percent are involved after their release in organizational aspects of terror: recruitment, direction, and indoctrination of terrorists.Brig.-Gen. (res.) Shalom Harari, formerly Palestinian Affairs Adviser to the Ministry of Defense, is a research fellow at the International Policy Institute for Counter-Terrorism (ICT) at the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya.
In the exchange being discussed, we will see higher percentages of released prisoners who return to terror activity because they are affiliated with organizations that have dedicated themselves to continued struggle against Israel until its eventual annihilation, unlike at the time of the Oslo Accords when thousands of prisoners were released with the intent that they would bring about support for the Oslo process.
In the document that came to be known as the Palestinian prisoners' document, there were some positive indications with regard to the right of return and to limiting the armed struggle. But that document no longer exists, because the document of national conciliation (the Mecca accord) - the only one spoken of now by the Palestinian public - has been stripped of all the elements that showed any moderation towards Israel.
The Minister of Information in the Palestinian government, Dr. Mustafa Barghouti, announced that the government is in no way associated with the list of prisoners to be released submitted to Israel and did not put it together. He paints a picture whereby it is the splinter factions who have assembled the list and it is they who are negotiating with Israel. So what is the PA government doing? It is not even a partner; it is a disinterested bystander. That is the current chaotic status in the territories.
Palestinian peace activists, which constitute a very small group, will see the prisoner release as an act of reconciliation, but the vast majority of the Palestinian public - supporters of Hamas, Jihad, the Popular Front, and the Democratic Front, as well as all of those who are released - will indisputably see it as a sign of Israeli weakness.
April 12, 2007
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