The Jerusalem District Court on Monday [12/3/07] sentenced the killer of former tourism minister and war hero Rehavam Ze'evi (nicknamed Gandhi) to life plus 100 years in prison.
Hamdi Qur'an, 33, a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), was convicted of killing Ze'evi six years ago. He was apprehended by security forces in March 2006, after international inspectors left the Jericho prison where he was held.
Qur'an, from the West Bank village of Al-Bireh, admitted last August that he was the one who pulled the trigger, killing the leader of the staunchly right-wing Moledet party.
He was also convicted of five other terror offenses, for which he received the additional 100 years in prison.
And that should be the end of the story. He should rot. But, no ...
Upon leaving the courthouse, Qur'an's mother said she hoped for a deal between Israel and the Palestinians that would bring peace and the release of her son.
She has every reason to hope. Qur'an, after all, was only exercising his right to resist occupation when he murdered Ze'evi in cold blood.
In its sentencing, the court wrote that "the murder of a government minister is not just the murder of a person but also an attack on the state and its sovereignty."
The court also said that Qura'n never expressed remorse for his actions and that he even said he would commit such an offense again if needed.
During the trial, Qur'an said: "I am being tried for using my right to defend myself against the Israeli occupation, the same right you use to kill us Palestinians," adding, "I accuse you of crimes against all of humanity."
Which is why our "moderate" "peace partners" in the Palestinian Authority feel perfectly justified in demanding the release of criminals like Qur'an as part of any deal. Here's an interview that IMRA's Dr. Aaron Lerner conducted just last week with Saleh Nazal, Director of the PA Minister's Office - Ministry of Detainees and Ex-Detainees Affairs:
IMRA: I wanted to understand the Palestinians position demanding the release of all Palestinian prisoners by the time of the signing of an agreement. Would this also apply to Palestinians arrested for activities they carried out after Annapolis - during the negotiation period until the signing.
Would those people also, by the Palestinian view, have to be released by the time of the signing or would they have a different status?
Nazal: You are talking about people detained for resistance operations that take place during the negotiations between Abu Mazen and Mr. Olmert - right?
Nazal: It is the position of the Ministry that all prisoners should be released during this process. They are engaged in resistance against the Israeli occupation - not against the peace process.
We want all the prisoners to be released because the reason that they wereretained was resistance to the occupation.
IMRA: So that is to say that people detained for activities they carry out between Annapolis and the signing of an agreement should also qualify for release at the time of an agreement.
Nazal: As I told you before. This is resistance against the occupation. Not resistance against the negotiations.
The Israeli forces are arresting people, building settlements, building barriers. You are looking only now at one party and not looking at the other one.
The Israeli forces are arresting criminals, building communities and protecting civilians from terrorist attacks. The palestinian arabs are murdering and maiming scores of Israelis. Criminals can be released and barriers can be removed. And, as we have seen to our sorrow, communities can even be dismantled. But the dead cannot be brought back to life. What compensation for past (and future) atrocities against our people can the palestinian arabs possibly offer in any imaginable peace agreement? And yet, for their part, they demand that everything be set back to the way it was before they launched the wars seeking Israel's destruction. This is indeed chutzpah.
Note: Almost 40 years ago, another young palestinian arab extremist similarly justified his assassination of a US Senator and former cabinet member due to the latter's support for Israel and perceived complicity in Israel's "occupation" of the disputed territories exactly one year earlier. Sirhan Sirhan is still sitting in prison, having been denied parole for the 13th time in March, 2006.