The High Court of Justice rejected the petition filed by bereaved families against the release of 26 Palestinian prisoners as part of the renewal of negotiations.
In an official statement Tuesday, Supreme Court President Asher Grunis wrote: "There is no dispute that the issue at hand is difficult and sensitive. Our hearts go out to the families of the terror victims."
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The High Court deliberated on the petition on Sunday, a few hours before the ministerial committee finalized the list of 26 prisoners to be released as part of Israel's gestures to the Palestinians ahead of the resumption of peace talks.
"The government was authorized to appoint a ministerial committee on its behalf, a committee which will be in charge of the various issues regarding prisoners' release," Grunis wrote upon ruling Tuesday, adding that for several times in the past, the court has granted the government "the authority to determine that all decisions regarding prisoners' release will be made in a small ministerial committee."
The judges dismissed the petitioners' claim that the decision to release terrorists "with blood on their hands," especially due to the fact that it is done as a gesture, is unreasonable and incompatible with policies determined by previous Israeli governments.
"Decisions regarding prisoners' release, specifically such that are made in the process of diplomatic negotiations, are strictly within the jurisdiction of the Israeli government, as it is responsible for foreign affairs and national security," Grunis stated.
"The government is in the possession of the relevant resources with which to reach such decisions and it is responsible for making them," he added.
At the end of the court hearing Sunday, from which it could be inferred that the panel will not overturn past rulings, some family members ran up to the judges to express their protest. "I'm not just a number on a list," said Gila Molcho. "You can't keep treating this as a purely legal proceeding."
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