~~Israel To Transfer Bodies of Terrorists~~
~~By Micah Halpern~~

~~Thursday August 15, 2013~~

Ynet reported yesterday that not only is Israel releasing prisoners, Israel is also transferring the bodies of terrorists to the Palestinians. It is all part of the series of gestures Israel is making in order to entice the Palestinians to come to the peace negotiation table.

There is no reason to think that this report was not true. The question that needs asking is what benefit will Israel gain from this transfer, especially after already agreeing to release 104 terrorist, all charged with murder or attempted murder, from Israeli prisons.

The only reason the transfer of bodies has not yet taken place is because the Palestinians are confirming the DNA. The precedent has already been set. Last year Israel transferred 91 bodies of terrorists to the Palestinian Authority.

When this transfer does happen it will almost certainly spark another great debate among Israeli.

Is it worth it?

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~~Abbas Legacy - Prison Release~~
~~By Micah Halpern~~

~~Wednesday August 14, 2013~~

Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Palestinian Authority, is cementing his legacy.

Most observes would respond by asking how? He has stumbled and failed at every juncture to secure peace or, for that matter, any agreement and has misread Israel's objectives at almost every turn.

That is true. But the Abbas dream is not about peace or coexistence. Mahmoud Abbas wants to be remembered for freeing Palestinian prisoners. Abbas is achieving that which Yasser Arafat could never achieve.

This recent group of 26 prisoners, part of the larger group of 104 prisoners to be released from Israeli prisons, is a small group that numbers well over a thousand Palestinian prisoners who have been freed under Abbas' watch.

Mahmoud Abbas will be remembered in the Palestinian history books as the president who forced Israel to free Palestinians who had been in jail for decades. It is Abbas who gave them their freedom, not Israel.

In the end, for his own legacy, Abbas is not concerned about a Palestinian Israeli peace deal. All he really cares about is the release of prisoners.

~~The Prisoners Are Murderers - Look~~

~~By Micah Halpern~~

~~Tuesday August 13, 2013~~

Today, the first group of Palestinian prisoners will be released. 26 of 104 prisoners that Israel promised to release in order to entice Mahmoud Abbas to sit down at the table to talk about a peace deal will go free.

26 mass murderers. 14 will return to Gaza. 12 will be released in the West Bank.

Here are some of their names and their crimes:
Abu Moussa Salam Ali Atiya, jailed since 1994, for the murder of Holocaust survivor Isaac Rotenberg

Kor Mattawa Hamad Faiz, jailed since 1985, for the murder of Menahem Dadon and attempted murder of Salomon Abukasis

Salah Ibrahim Ahmad Mughdad, jailed since 1993, for the murder of Israel Tenenbaum.

Many of the victims were older and were Holocaust survivors. 12 of the victims were Arab. All of the prisoners were convicted of murder and attempted murder. Their release flies in the face of the judicial system that convicted them. They are not being released for good behavior nor are they being released on parole.

These convicted criminals are being released as a political gesture which is supra judicial.

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A Little Perspective on Settlements
By Micah Halpern

Monday August 12, 2013

There has been much shouting and finger pointing these past few days over the decision by the Israeli government to build 1,200 housing units in the West Bank.

The shouters and finger pointers claim that the decision is at best counterproductive to peace talks. In fact, they have condemned Israel for torpedoing the upcoming second round of talks.

I say that a little perspective is required here. I am neither justifying nor do I need to justify Israel's decision, but that reaction is over the top.

One of the agreements decided upon by the Palestinians and the Israelis was that there no longer needs to be a total cessation of settlement building in order to come back to the negotiating table.

The vast majority of the 1,200 units are actually in Jerusalem, not in far flung settlements. They are in neighborhoods where residents pay taxes and get local bus service and garbage collection from the municipality of Jerusalem. They are over the 1967 lines, but they are part of Jerusalem.

Almost 800 of the 1,200 apartments will be built in Jerusalem: 400 in Gilo; 210 in Homat Shmuel; 183 in Pisgat Zeev. The other communities to receive units are huge city-like suburbs of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. The settlement Ariel will get 117 units; Efrat will get 149; Ma'ale Adumim will get 92 units; Beitar Illit will get 36.

Ariel has nearly 20,000 people in it. Beitar Ilit has 50,000 and Maale Adumim has nearly 50,000 people. They are each only a few seconds drive from Jerusalem or Tel Aviv.

Perspective, it's important.