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
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
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.