For the first time since he was convicted of assassinating Sen. Robert F. Kennedy (D-N.Y.) in 1968, prosecutors have decided not to oppose the parole of Sirhan Sirhan, 77, after having opposed his release in 15 previous parole hearings.
Alex Bastian, the special adviser to leftist Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascón, told The Washington Post, “The role of a prosecutor and their access to information ends at sentencing. The parole board’s sole purpose is to objectively determine whether someone is suitable for release. If someone is the same person that committed an atrocious crime, that person will correctly not be found suitable for release.”
“However, if someone is no longer a threat to public safety after having served more than 50 years in prison, then the parole board may recommend release based on an objective determination,” he continued. “Our office policies take these principles into account and as such, our prosecutors stay out of the parole board hearing process.”
The Post added:
When California abolished the death penalty, Sirhan’s sentence was reduced to life with the possibility of parole. And now Sirhan, who has been incarcerated for 53 years, may benefit from a new push among progressive prosecutors to seek the release, or not oppose the release, of convicts who have served decades behind bars, no longer pose a threat to society and will be costly to treat medically in their later years.
Sirhan’s attorney, lawyer Angela Berry, stated that “denying parole on an opinion that Mr. Sirhan’s actions ‘changed the course of history’ or ‘disenfranchised millions of Americans’ violates due process.” “She cites the California Supreme Court’s guidance on parole consideration, which says that an analysis ‘cannot be undertaken simply by examining the circumstances of the crime in isolation, without consideration of the passage of time or the attendant changes in the inmate’s psychological or mental attitude,’” the Post noted.
Berry also asserted that that “current dangerousness is the relevant inquiry by the Board. Statutory and case law dictate that parole shall be granted unless the prisoner poses a current danger to public safety.”
Sirhan and his family moved to the United States from Jordan in the 1950s, eventually settling in Pasadena, where he attended Pasadena City College and “later held odd jobs, notably working at a horse stable and later at a health food store,” Brittanica.com stated.
“Immediately after his arrest, following the shooting, Sirhan told his captors that he had made the decision to kill Kennedy only three weeks earlier. On the radio, he had heard a speech delivered by the candidate during a visit to a synagogue, in which Kennedy promised to arm Israel with dozens of warplanes, calling it the lesson he’d learned from the Six-Day War a year earlier. … Sirhan explained that the date of the assassination was not accidental, that he had chosen it because it was the first anniversary of the start of the Six-Day War,” Haaretz reported.
In 1965-66, the Syrian army in the Golan Heights rained down attacks on Israeli farms and villages below, forcing Israeli children to sleep in bomb shelters. Israel alerted the UN Mixed Armistice Commission, whose job it was to keep the peace, but the United Nations did nothing.
Meanwhile, Egyptian President Gamel Abdul Nasser was threatening Israel, saying, “We shall not enter Palestine with its soil covered in sand; we shall enter it with its soil saturated in blood.”
In May 1967, Syrian Defense Minister Hafez Assad stated, “Our forces are now entirely ready not only to repulse the aggression, but to initiate the act of liberation itself, and to explode the Zionist presence in the Arab homeland. The Syrian army, with its finger on the trigger, is united….I, as a military man, believe that the time has come to enter into a battle of annihilation.”
Two days later Egypt closed the Straits of Tiran, cutting off Israel’s supply route with Asia. The next day Nasser boasted, “The Jews threaten to make war. I reply: Welcome! We are ready for war.” Within days, King Hussein of Jordan signed a defense treaty with Egypt. President Abdur Rahman Aref of Iraq chimed in, “The existence of Israel is an error which must be rectified. This is our opportunity to wipe out the ignominy which has been with us since 1948. Our goal is clear — to wipe Israel off the map.”
The joint forces of Egypt, Iraq, Syria, and Jordan comprised 465,000 troops, over 2,800 tanks, and 800 aircraft.
Minister Abba Eban wrote in his memoir:
Many in the world were afraid that a great massacre was sweeping down upon us. And in many places in Israel there was talk of Auschwitz and Maidenek. The anxiety expressed by friends outside told us that our apprehension was not vain. Yet, as the last days of May were passing into the haze of memory, the people were gripped by a spirit of union and resolve. Men of military age silently laid down their work in factory, office and farm, took up their files of reservist papers and disappeared toward the south. … thousands of you men were crowding the offices of Israeli consulates and Jewish Agency institutions throughout the world, asking to be sent to Israel for immediate service.
On June 5, 1967, Israel launched a preemptive strike, destroying most of the Egyptian air force and half of the Syrian air force while their planes were still on the ground. Israel was not planning on attacking Jordan until Hussein started shelling Jerusalem.
Six days after the war started, Israel had taken and unified Jerusalem, captured Judea and Samaria, the Sinai Desert, the Golan Heights, and the Gaza Strip. In capturing Jerusalem, the Temple Mount, the holiest site in Judaism, came under Jewish control for the first time in 2000 years.