Families of terrorism victims, opposing U.S. role in prisoner release, write open letter to Kerry

(JNS.org) Families of terrorism victims have written an open letter to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to express their outrage over the U.S. government’s role in pushing Israel to release 104 Palestinian terrorist prisoners, 26 of whom were released Tuesday, as part of a goodwill gesture for Israeli-Palestinian conflict talks.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry meets with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah on May 23, 2013. Families of terrorism victims have written a letter to Kerry that criticizes the U.S. role in bringing about Israel's prisoner release of 104 Palestinian terrorists—26 of whom have been set free so far—for Israeli-Palestinian conflict negotiations. Credit: State Department.

The open letter, signed by a group of 18 family members of terrorism victims who call themselves the Bereaved Families for Peace and Justice, explains to Kerry that Israelis already understand the necessary sacrifices for peace.

“We say to you… you will not find ordinary citizens anywhere, and certainly not in Israel, who are more convinced of the need for painful compromise and of bilateral concessions in the pursuit of peace than we are,” the letter says.

The letter adds, “We have paid an unbearably high price for this generations-long conflict. We know it must end. But the process of making it end cannot be built on a foundation of glorifying the bombers of restaurants and of buses and those who sent them.”

Yossi Zur—father of Asaf, an aspiring computer expert who at age 17 was one of 17 people killed in a 2003 Palestinian suicide bus bombing in Haifa—explained the group’s motivation behind the letter to Kerry.

“We wanted to ask [Kerry] why he pushed Israel to do what the U.S. would never do,” Yossi told JNS.org, referring to the prisoner release.

“We wanted him to see us face to face and hear firsthand what we think and how it feels to see your children’s murderer goes free,” Yossi added. 

Meanwhile, the 26 Palestinians freed so far in the prisoner release, all of whom were convicted of either the murder of Israelis or accessory to commit murder, were greeted with celebration by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas at a special ceremony at his compound in Ramallah.

“I hereby tell you that we will never rest until all prisoners are among us,” Abbas said, Ma’an News Agency reported.


Posted on August 14, 2013 .