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January 17, 2012 10:19 am

Why Israel Needs the Death Penalty

avatar by Josh Hasten

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2001 Jerusalem Sbarro bombing. Photo: ronmossad.blogspot.com.

An Israeli court this week sentenced the second Arab terrorist guilty of murdering five members of the Fogel family in the town of Itamar, Israel last March, to five life terms and seven years in prison.  In theory, Amjad Awad and his cousin Hakim, who was already sentenced to a similar jail term, will never see the light of day after they carried out one of the most brutal terror attacks in Israel’s history.

The Awad cousins managed to infiltrate the community of Itamar late on a Friday night, the Jewish Sabbath, on March 11, 2011 and in a combined shooting and stabbing attack murdered a mother, father, and two of their children. The monsters then re-entered the house and butchered the family’s infant daughter, who was just four months old, since they heard her cries from being awakened by the commotion.

Neither of the suspects have expressed any regret in their actions, but rather exhibited a sense of pride in their bloodletting on behalf of “Palestine.”

But the question that needs to be asked is does the punishment fit the crime? On the surface it would seem that justice was served with both terrorists receiving life sentences. But in reality recent events in Israel suggest otherwise.

This past October, captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit was released by his Hamas captors, who held him in a Gaza dungeon for five years, in exchange for 1,027 Arab prisoners, including some of those guilty for the bloodiest terror attacks on Israeli civilians during the so-called second intifada.

Among those released was Ahlam Tamimi the mastermind behind the Jerusalem Sbarro pizzeria suicide bombing in 2001, which left 15 Israelis dead.  According to freelance writer Frimet Roth whose 15-year-year old daughter Malki was one of the victims in the attack during her sentencing Tamimi was never to be eligible for pardon or early parole. However thanks to the Shalit exchange not only is she out of prison but is living freely in Jordan with celebrity “martyr” status.

There are many other examples both as a result of the Shalit exchange and in other terrorist prisoner swaps over the years (in some cases the trades involved Israel receiving the remains of IDF soldiers in exchange for convicted Arab murderers),  where those receiving life sentences by Israeli courts were eventually freed.

The only solution to prevent this injustice from continuing, (and to perhaps increase the deterrent somewhat before terrorists act in some cases) is for Israel to institute a death penalty for those convicted of nationalistic related murders.

To date, Israel has only put to death one man – Nazi leader Adolf Eichmann for his leadership role in the attempted extermination of European Jewry during the Holocaust.  But today the Arab terrorists guilty of some of the most heinous crimes enter Israeli prisons knowing in the back of their minds that one day they will be freed.

Until recently even in the harshest of Israeli prison settings  these terrorists have been living with unimaginable freedoms including the ability to pursue higher education, having contact with the outside world (in some cases planning other attacks from inside their cells), and other fringe benefits under such a lenient system. In other words, while Gilad Shalit was denied sunlight and denied visits by the International Red Cross, some of the suicide bomber masterminds were getting their PhD’s.

This has to stop.  While implementing the death penalty won’t bring back the victims, it is the only true means of implementing justice, especially today when surviving Israeli family members have to sometimes relive their horror as their loved one’s killers’ walk free.

While some Israeli officials are currently attempting to implement a system in which disproportionate prisoner exchanges will be a thing of the past, the only full proof way to ensure that these terrorist murders will never be free is by putting them to their deserved deaths.

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