by Yossi Tzur
Today (Monday) we bereaved families will once again hold a "ceremony" at the Supreme Court. Every few years, under one pretext or another, the government decides to release murderous terrorists. Perhaps in exchange for a captive soldier, perhaps to recover soldiers' bodies, or merely as a precondition for talks. Talks, shmalks.
The bereaved families end up paying the price: in suffering, in reopening the wound of the attack that changed their lives, the trauma they have been struggling with for years. Each time we try to rehabilitate ourselves, the government throws us back into the eye of the storm, into suffering and pain.
The dynamic is always the same. At first, rumors circulate about an upcoming prisoner release. Organizations representing the victims and their loved ones voice concern. There are denials all around. Finally the cabinet convenes. Everyone says the vote was very close but the prime minister proved persuasive in the end. The media has a field day. Everything is wrapped in a smoke screen of lies that are meant to give the appearance of genuine debate, misgivings and the agonizing that went on.
But the decision has been predetermined. It was promised to foreign entities before Israelis even knew about it. The Americans and Palestinians are both promised, with a wink or without, that it will all work out. Now the government just has to get past the smoke screen that is the media and public opinion.
The list is published a mere 48 hours before the release. They are careful to make the terrorists' names as difficult as possible to identify. This is easy to do with Arab names (What is the precise spelling of a name like Mawaaz Abu Sharach?) The families pounce on the list, looking for the name of the terrorist who killed their loved one and who is about to go free. Then they petition the High Court of Justice. The High Court will say that the decision is up to the government and that it does not intervene in such cases.
This afternoon, we bereaved families will conduct our recurrent ritual at the Supreme Court. But this will be a Supreme Court of the dry letter of the law and obstinate bureaucracy. There will be no justice. Because the same Supreme Court that has in the past rejected terrorists' appeals to go free will now lay the groundwork for their release in dubious government deals.
Still, we have one small hope. Just as the High Court decided on the matter of Ramat Gan mayor Zvi Bar that his actions of alleged corruption were "kosher but noxious" and prevented him from running for office, we hope the High Court judges will show real courage and decide, in the petition against the prisoner release, that there is no good reason to release the prisoners and that the government's decision is "kosher but noxious."
The writer lost his son Asaf in the terror attack on the 37 bus in Haifa in March 2003.
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