Bereaved families filed a petition with the High Court of Justice on Friday, the first against the Gilad Shalit
deal which will see 1,027 Palestinian prisoners being
released in exchange for the Hamas-held soldier. They are claiming the deal is a "wholesale release of murderers" and have asked that the implementation of the exchange be delayed.
The families are seeking a delay in order to be given more time to organize a petition against their loved ones' murderers being freed. It should be noted that the full list of prisoners set to be released in the deal is only expected to be published on Sunday – two days before the exchange is expected to go ahead.
The families have petitioned against the cabinet decision itself claiming it was "unreasonable and disproportionate" due to the "dramatic number of terrorists with blood on their hands being released, including arch-murderers sentenced to multiple life sentences for the murder of dozens of people."
Some of the petitioners at High Court (Photo: Gil Yohanan)
The petitioners also claimed that "this release is like none before it – not even in the Jibril deal – due to the mental consequences on the victims and the security threat it creates for civilians and soldiers in the future."
The petitioners are also claiming that the decision is one that includes moral and humane issues towards a family and a soldier who was kidnapped, and therefore it is an issue that deserves to be debated publically, all the more so as part of a legal hearing in the High court.
They added they were promised, at their loved ones' gravesites that "Israel's hand would find the murderers and carry out justice and here, they find that the other hand is releasing them under the threat of violence that gnaws at and undermines the foundations of justice, democracy and equality before law."
The petition against the prime minister, defense minister and chief of staff was filed by the Almagor Terror Victims Association; Yitzhak Maoz, whose daughter was murdered in the 2001 Sbarro terror attack; Hovav Nuriel, son of abduction and murder victim Sasson Nuriel; the Bloom family, who were injured in a Molotov cocktail attack; Rabbi Shmuel Weiss, whose son was killed in a battle with terrorists; Ron Kerman who lost his daughter in a Haifa terror attack, and others.
Some 450 prisoners are set to be released in the first stage of the deal and the Justice Ministry has already begun to prepare for the handover, including providing the High Court with possible responses should petitions be filed against the deal.
Some of the bereaved families are claiming that the price being paid by Israel is too high.
Responding to public criticism, the Shin Bet noted that from the organization's perspective it was the best deal they could get.
Protesting for release of prisoners in Bethlehem (Photo: EPA)
Among those set to be released are the man behind the 405 bus terror attack that claimed the lives of 16 people, the murderers of Nachshon Wachsman, the murderers of yeshiva student Haim Kerman, Amana Muna, who lured 16-year-old Ophir Nahum via Internet chats to his murder in Ramallah, and others.
Meir Indor, CEO of the Almagor Terror Victims Association, told Ynet: "There are a number of bereaved families who are categorically opposed to the deal. Some aren't even aware of the fact that the terrorists who murdered their loved ones are going to be released.
"Usually they give you time to go over the names, yet not in this case. This deal outdoes all previous ones in the number of terrorists being released and the severity of their deeds."
"The deal must be postponed otherwise the complaints will only be submitted after the terrorists are released."
Aviad Glickman contributed to this report