November 28, 2011

Letter to the Editor: Humanizing the costs of violence

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In “The News Media Are Balanced 1027:1,” published in Monday’s Sun, the author urges readers to humanize the released Palestinian prisoners lest they be “happily forgotten.” By merely characterizing these prisoners as people with “children, wives, husbands and lives back home,” the author glosses over the real terrorism many of them committed. He neglects Israel’s security needs, thereby devaluing Israeli lives.

The released terrorists have made clear their intentions to murder more Israeli civilians. Take, for example, Tamimi Ahlam, who was serving 16 life sentences for her role in the 2001 Sbarro restaurant bombing in Jerusalem, about which she proudly stated, “Do you want me to denounce what I did? That’s out of the question. I would do it again today, and in the same manner.” Fifteen civilians dead, 130 wounded.

Or, Walid al-Hadi Anajas, who was sentenced to 36 life sentences for his role in the 2002 bombings of Café Moment and Hebrew University. Twenty civilians dead, 139 wounded.

Or, Aziz Salehi, infamously remembered for his blood-stained hands displayed in celebration outside a Ramallah window after he took part in the 2000 lynching of Israeli Corporal Vadim Nurzhitz.

These are only a few of the many prisoners released who committed terrorist attacks against Israeli civilians. It is a disservice to the value of human life to ignore the lives taken by these acts of terror.

It is not the media, as the author claimed, that created the 1027:1 equation. It is Hamas that devalues the lives of its own people. Of course Israel would have preferred a 1:1 trade. For Hamas, life is valueless. Hamas routinely kills and tortures Fatah “collaborators” and indoctrinates its children to commit suicide attacks, glorifying murderers as martyrs. This attitude prompted Palestinians to chant for the capture of the next Gilad Shalit: another human bartering chip, held without exposure to sunlight or access to the Red Cross.

In decrying a narrative that purportedly fails to “humanize” Palestinian prisoners, the author offers his alternate narrative, in which it’s not the Palestinian prisoners who are forgotten, but the crimes they’ve committed and the lives they’ve ended.

Melanie Pasch ’13, Emily Schlussel ’13 and Eli Shaubi ’13