Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

3 Cheshvan 5760 - October 13, 1999 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly








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Opinion & Comment
The Murder of Morality

The Palestinian Police Commander Ghazi Jabali received a special waiver -- as a humanitarian gesture -- from Prime Minister Ehud Barak to travel from Gaza to Ramallah to attend his father's funeral, despite the outstanding warrant for his arrest for involvement in terrorist activities.

Jabali, a fairly high-ranking police official in Gaza, recruited and organized a gang of Palestinian police officers to carry out terrorist activities against Jews in the Shomron area. It was a minor miracle that the Palestinian police were caught by Israeli security forces and the gang broken up before they committed any serious terrorist acts. The Palestinians all said that they had been recruited by Jabali. Israel issued a warrant for his arrest and since then Jabali has not left Gaza.

All this took place well after the Oslo agreements between Israel and the Palestinians, when we are supposed to be in a process that will lead to peace. By normal humanitarian standards, which are well entrenched in every civilized society, someone like Jabali would have been removed from his position immediately and put on trial in his home country for his part in planning terrorist activities. It is absurd that he could just continue in his job as if nothing had happened.

One might just imagine how Israel would itself react if one of its senior officials had been suspected of involvement in terror against Arabs. Actually, there is little need for a fertile imagination since even the fringe Jewish elements that engaged in terror were hounded mercilessly, especially by the Left, to pay fully for their wrong actions.

The fact that Jabali not only did not suffer from his deeds but even was allowed to continue in his position and continued to enjoy a warm relationship with his boss, Yasser Arafat, gives a definite appearance that the latter condones his actions, even if he stops short of outright support.

All this did not deter Arafat from requesting that Israel allow Jabali to travel through its territory and not arrest him, as a humanitarian gesture of goodwill.

Even according to the latest creative approach to Palestinian crimes, all activity after Oslo is not pardonable. The true humanitarian reaction to that request would have been to reject it outright as the travesty it is, with a renewed request for his removal from office and arrest. A terrorist does not become more human if his father dies. For Arafat to invoke humanitarian grounds for an inhuman terrorist of whom Arafat himself has been inhumanly tolerant is an intolerable chutzpah.

The prime minister chose to grant the request, apparently figuring that it was a way to gain world press points at a relatively cheap price, since all effects would be gone as soon as Jabali returned to Gaza.

However, this is a short term gain at a great long term cost. What can be expected of a peace partner if not adherence -- or at least some respect -- for basic human decency? This does not generate goodwill but rather an expectation in the Palestinians that they will get whatever they want without having to adhere to any norms in return.

Humanitarian gestures should be saved for those who behave in a humane fashion.

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