Bereaved families speak out as PA prepares for second prisoner release

Ministers expected to approve release of 26 terrorists as part of agreement with Palestinians. Bereaved families: It's an irresponsible move

The special ministerial committee on the release of Palestinian prisoners from will convene Sunday afternoon, and is expected to approve the release of 26 terrorists, most of whom are murderers, who were jailed prior to the Oslo Accords .


The Palestinian Authority is already preparing for the release and will hold an official ceremony in their honor on Tuesday in Ramallah's Muqata, which will be attended by the PA's leadership. The goal: Glorifying the political achievement for the benefit of Fatah.


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Yaron Friedman from Nahariya lost his brother Guy, who was killed on the Night of the Pitchforks near Kibbutz Gilad in 1992. The terrorists that committed the murder were Arab-Israelis from Wadi Ara, and their names are included in the list of 104 prisoners that are expected to be released as part of the agreement with the Palestinians. The brother said Sunday that their release is outrageous.


"It is an irresponsible move by the government and all those involved. They are releasing terrorists and murderers without getting anything in return, only for unfounded promises – at the expense of my brother's blood, as well as other victims'. Meanwhile we see there is only an increase in terror; soldiers that were murdered, a little girl that was stabbed. We must stop this release immediately."


Friedman also criticized the fact that the bereaved families are not informed in the process. "We are fed by the media, because things are done in the dark, quietly. Nothing is on the table formally, and until we get the information it is already too late."


After the approval Sunday by the ministerial committee, petitioners will have 48 hours to appeal to the High Court of Justice against the release. In previous times, such appeals were denied.


Up all night, waiting for list

Avi Osher was murdered in the Jordan Valley in 1991 by one of his Palestinian employees. A year later the murderer was caught while shooting at an IDF vehicles.


The victim's daughter Meirav described the family's "nightmare" since they were first informed that the murderer might be released.


"We stay up all night fearing the names will be published and we won't know about it. We are experiencing harsh feelings of disappointment towards the government, and especially feel that the release is unnecessary and poses a security risk. Since the last release of 26 terrorists, three Israelis were murdered. One of them was murdered only five kilometers from where my father was killed."


Osher added that she is planning to return and live in the Jordan Valley, after leaving the area. "It is my moral decision," she said.


Concessions: Release of 104 prisoners

The expected prisoner release will include the second group of prisoners as part of the Israeli agreement to release 104 security detainees, Palestinians and Arab-Israelis, who were imprisoned before the Oslo Accords.


Arab-Israelis are not expected to be released this time. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu previously pledged that such step would require another vote within the cabinet. According to the PA's Prisoners Affairs Ministry, the third group of prisoners will be released December 28 and the fourth on March 28.


Palestinian Minister of Prisoner Affairs Issa Karaka said the PA received an official notice that the prisoners will be transferred on Tuesday. He stressed that the release and the continued negotiations should not be linked and assured that even if negotiations fail – Israel will still release all 104 prisoners.


Tensions ran high Saturday night between ministers Naftali Bennett and Tzipi Livni , who heads the negotiations. "The people who are releasing terrorists are the same people who resisted to freezing settlement construction," said sources close to Livni. "Habayit Hayehudi is looking for excuses to stay in the government, but Livni isn't running this negotiation on behalf of herself."


Habayit Hayehudi said: "With all due respect, even talks with Erekat are not a good enough reason to try and stall the bill to prevent the release of prisoners." The bill, submitted by Knesset Member Orit Struk, is expected to be deliberated on Sunday by the Ministerial Committee on Legislative Affairs, headed by Livni, yet it is still unclear whether it will be delayed.


Elior Levy and Attila Somfalvi contributed to this report



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פרסום ראשון: 10.27.13, 12:35
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