Maher and Kareem Younis
Reproduction: Ido Erez

'We trust Hamas not to disappoint'

Families of prisoners slated for release should Shalit deal materialize urge both sides to bring prisoner exchange to completion

Corporal Avraham Bromberg was last seen alive in November 1981, as he was leaving his Golan Heights base to go home to Zichron Yaacov. Two days later he was found mortally wounded on the side of a northern highway. He died two days later.


In 1983, Maher and Kareem Younis were arrested and confessed to Bromberg's murder. Both were both sentenced to death – a verdict later commuted to life imprisonment.


Nadim Younis, the two's younger brother, urges both Hamas and the Israeli government to "release Gilad Shalit and release our prisoners."


Kareem Younis, 61, has been in prison for 26 years. Both Younis brothers were convicted of abduction, murder, membership in a terror group, illegal possession of a firearm and firing into a crowd.


"He hopes to be included in this deal and we trust Hamas not to disappoint us, but we're afraid of being disappointed," the younger Younis told Ynet.


"I call on the Israeli government – there are families here that want the same thing: the Shalit family wants their son home and is willing to have these prisoners set free for his return. We want them to have their son home again, so our sons can be released. This could be a significant step towards peace."


"My brother has been in jail for 26 years. Even a life sentence has its limits – it's like that all over the world. It's only here that we're treated differently… if this is a democracy than the law should apply to everyone equally."


Ever since reports of an impending prisoner exchange deal have increased, the families of 129 security prisoners – Israeli Arabs – insist on media silence. They fear any ill-perceived statement might impede their loved ones' chances of going free.


Mounir Mansour, former chairman of the Palestinian Prisoners Committee, tells of hundreds of calls a day by family members. "The waiting is nerve-racking. They need us to give them answers and we're helpless. All we can do is try and offer as much support as possible."


The committee itself was shut done several years ago by order of the Defense Ministry, but Mansour is still active: "Twenty-seven of our sons were sentenced to life imprisonment. I was a prisoner and all I can say is that it's a shame the State of Israel doesn’t treat us the way it treats Israeli prisoners. If it did – it wouldn’t have a problem with Hamas."


פרסום ראשון: 12.28.09, 15:58
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