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Saturday, July 27, 2013
Text: PM Netanyahu open letter on releasing terrorists

[IMRA: Comments follow the letter]

PM Netanyahu's Open Letter to Israeli Citizens Ahead of the Proposal to
Resume the Diplomatic Process that will be Presented at Tomorrow's Cabinet
Meeting

(Communicated by the Prime Minister's Media Adviser)

Following is the text of an open letter to the citizens of Israel from Prime
Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ahead of the proposal to resume the diplomatic
process, that will be submitted to the Cabinet tomorrow (Sunday, 28 July
2013):

"From time to time, prime ministers are called on to make decisions that go
against public opinion when the matter is important for the country.

In order to make decisions that are supported by the public, there is no
need for prime ministers.

At the present time, it seems to me that it is very important for the State
of Israel to enter into a diplomatic process. This is important both in
order to exhaust the chance of ending the conflict with the Palestinians and
in order to establish Israel's position in the complex international reality
around us.

The major changes in our region in Egypt, Syria and in Iran not only
place challenges before the State of Israel but they also create
considerable opportunities for us.

For these reasons, I believe that it is important for the State of Israel to
enter a diplomatic process that will continue for at least nine months in
order to check if it is possible to reach an agreement with the Palestinians
during this time.

But even with all of the importance that I ascribe to the diplomatic
process, I was not prepared to accept the Palestinians' demands for
withdrawals and freezes as preconditions for entering negotiations.

Neither was I prepared to accept their demand to release Palestinian
prisoners before the start of negotiations. I did agree to release 104
Palestinians in stages after the start of the negotiations and in accordance
with the circumstances of their progress.

This is an incomparably difficult decision, it is painful for the bereaved
families and it is painful for the entire nation and it is also very painful
for me.

It collides with the incomparably important value of justice.

It is a clear injustice when depraved people, even if most of them have sat
in prison for over 20 years as in this case, are released before they have
finished serving their sentences.

The decision is difficult for me seven-fold because my family and I
personally know the price of bereavement stemming from terrorism. I know the
pain very well. I have lived with it every day for the past 37 years.

The fact that previous Israeli governments have released over 10,000
terrorists does not make it easier for me today, and did not make it easier
when I decided to bring back Gilad Shalit.

Gilad Shalit's return home entailed an incomparably difficult decision for
me releasing terrorists. But I believed that the value of bringing
children back home needed to overcome this difficulty.

People in positions of leadership need to choose between complex choices and
sometimes the necessary decision is especially difficult when most of the
public opposes it.

Thus I decided to end Operation Pillar of Defense after the elimination of
arch-terrorist Ahmed Jabari and after the severe blows the IDF dealt to
Hamas and the other terrorist organizations.

I made the decision to end the operation even though most of the public
supported continued action, which would have required entering the Gaza
Strip on the ground. As Prime minister, I thought that the goal of
deterrence had been mostly achieved by the determined actions that we
carried out.

Today, almost one year after the end of Operation Pillar of Defense, we are
witness to the quietest situation in the south in over a decade. Of course,
this quiet can fray at any minute but my policy is clear on all fronts: We
will, as much as possible, foil threats against us in a timely manner. We
will react strongly to any attempt to harm our people.

In the next nine months, we will consider whether there is a Palestinian
element opposite us that, like us, truly wants to end the conflict between
us.

Such a conclusion will be possible only under conditions that will ensure
security for Israel's citizens and ensure our vital national interests.

If we succeed in achieving such a peace agreement, I will submit it to a
referendum.

Such a fateful decision cannot be made by a close vote in the Knesset.

Every citizen must be allowed to directly influence our future and our fate
on such a crucial issue.

The best answer we can give to those same base murderers that sought to
defeat us through terrorism is that in the decades that they sat in prison,
we built a glorious country and turned it into one of the most prosperous,
advanced and strongest countries in the world.

I promise that we will continue thus.

Yours,

Benjamin Netanyahu."
==================

Observation: Netanyahu letter counterproductive

Dr. Aaron Lerner Date: 27 July 2013

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's open letter to the nation released today
fails to convincingly establish that his decision to cross a "red line" with
the release of Israeli-Arab terrorists, is a unique event rather than a
precedent for future red line crossings.

The letter presents two key justifications:

#1 "to exhaust the chance of ending the conflict with the Palestinians"

#2 "to establish Israel's position in the complex international reality
around us."

#1. "To exhaust the possibility of concluding the conflict with the
Palestinians."

#2 "To establish Israel's standing in the complicated international reality
surrounding us."

In the letter, Mr. Netanyahu argues that he has some red lines:

"I was not prepared to accept the Palestinians' demands for withdrawals and
freezes as preconditions for entering negotiations.."

But in both Arab AND Israeli eyes this so-called rejection of these
preconditions is just for Israeli consumption. The talks are on the basis
of the '67 lines and there will be a freeze (with
only the regurgitation of approval of previously approved plans).

Finally we have the very disturbing narrative of the outcome of the decision
not to continue with the operation in Gaza:

"I made the decision to end the operation even though most of the public
supported continued action, which would have required entering the Gaza
Strip on the ground. As Prime minister, I thought that the goal of
deterrence had been mostly achieved by the determined actions that we
carried out.

Today, almost one year after the end of Operation Pillar of Defense, we are
witness to the quietest situation in the south in over a decade. Of course,
this quiet can fray at any minute but my policy is clear on all fronts: We
will, as much as possible, foil threats against us in a timely manner. We
will react strongly to any attempt to harm our people.."

The truth is that over the course of this period Hamas has engaged in an
unprecedented arms build up that continues to this day.

To claim that this is evidence of Israeli deterrence rather than that Hamas
is following the principle of hudna (cease-fire to facilitate gaining
strength to attack) evidences only dangerous self delusion.

It goes without saying that if this red line is being crossed in exchange
for the release of Pollard then everyone will understand that this move is a
unique concession and not a precedent.

Dr. Aaron Lerner, Director IMRA (Independent Media Review & Analysis) (Mail
POB 982 Kfar Sava)
Tel 972-9-7604719/Fax 972-3-7255730
INTERNET ADDRESS: imra@netvision.net.il
Website: http://www.imra.org.il

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