UPDATES 7 pm Israel time, Sunday, February 23 2014:
In what can only be described as a travesty of justice, the Israel Supreme Court reduced the sentence yesterday of PFLP terrorist Mahmed Mehra who was convicted in the murder of IDF soldier Gilad Fisher back in 2002. The attack occurred at an IDF post near Gaza.
In that attack, Mehra was the lookout who informed his fellow terrorists by radio when Fisher was in range of their weapons. For his part in the murder, Mehra was sentenced to 35 years in prison.
In yesterday’s decision, the Supreme Court justices incredibly ruled that Mehra’s sentence “veers too harshly from the standard of punishment in such cases.” It immediately replaced the 35 year sentence with a new sentence of only 26 years with the possibility of parole in only 17 years. The terrorist Mehra will probably be released in 2019, five years from now.
It is the rationale used by the court that your humble servant finds pathetic. Because other murderers of Israeli soldiers have received lenient sentences from other lower courts, the Supreme Court–the highest court in Israel–felt itself bound to reduce Mehra’s sentence. Could any rationale be more absurd?
Wendy Sherman, the American undersecretary of state for political affairs and the head of the American negotiating team arrived in Israel yesterday, ostensibly to brief Israel on the latest round of Iranian nuclear talks in Vienna. Readers of this blog will remember that those talks ended ignominiously last week with European FM Catherine Ashton ridiculously announcing that the P5+1 and Iran had agreed on what they will talk about in the future.
In other words, the P5+1 agreed to not do anything about the Iranian nuclear program for the time being.
But it turns out that Sherman was not merely in Jerusalem to brief Israel on the P5+1′ s absurd lack of progress, she was in Jerusalem to tell Israelis to back off: “It will be critical that our negotiators and partners have the space to get this done diplomatically. The talks with Iran will be very hard and we can’t afford to make it even harder.”
The obvious irony of this statement is that all the P5+1 has done for the last decade is give the Iranians “space” to continue their nuclear weapons program.
And, of course, Sherman is doing nothing more than mouthing what President Obama has told PM Netanyahu–namely to lay off the criticism (in Obama’s words “take a breather”) and wait to see what the final terms of the agreement with Iran will be.
But already yesterday, members of Sherman’s team privately leaked that the U.S. might now be willing to accept a “small, practical, Iranian nuclear program”. Even in public yesterday, Sherman remarked that stopping Iranian enrichment of uranium is an “unlikely” expectation.
And Israel is supposed to back off and take a breather?
As your humble servant has written continuously over the course of the last two years, the simple fact is that President Obama has no intention or inclination to stop Iran’s nuclear program and the P5+1 could care less whether Tehran stops its centrifuges. The only interest that Obama and the P5+1 have is increasing business with Iran.