The Almagor Terror Victims Association on Tuesday petitioned the High Court of Justice to halt the release of 26 Palestinian prisoners, which is expected to take place later in the day. The group, which is representing several bereaved families, is demanding that the release be delayed until the petition is reviewed.
The Palestinian terrorists who are slated for release Tuesday all committed their crimes prior to the signing of the Oslo Accords in 1993 and were sentenced to at least 30 years in prison. In July the Israeli government decided to free a total of 104 Palestinians as part of the peace talks that were renewed this past summer. The first phase of the deal, during which 26 prisoners were released to their homes in the West Bank and Gaza, took place in August.
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On Tuesday, 21 prisoners will be released to the West Bank, while the rest will be transported to Gaza.
According to the petitioners, "the release of terrorists with blood on their hands, even if it is done for diplomatic reasons, is tinged with lack of morality and deals a critical blow to the existence of a society that is founded on values and law."
The petition states that the release of prisoners "to the cheers on the Palestinian street and the pain of the victims, their families and the Israeli public in general, has nothing to do with peace. Rather, it fuels war and the continuation of killing and terror attacks."
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Almagor further claims that at least two of the prisoners committed crimes after the signing of the Oslo deal and urged the court to intervene for the sake of "justice in its most basic, biblical sense, according to which anyone who spills blood will not see the light of day."
The petitioners claim that the government "turned a blind eye" when it refused to hold another discussion on the release, despite requests from some ministers, and also when it did not insist on being briefed by security officials on the recent changes on the ground. The petitioners also claimed the government's decision-making process "lacked supervision" and that the government continues to delay discussions on the Shamgar Committee's recommendations regarding prisoner swaps.
Almagor Director Meir Indor mentioned that "lately, following the first release (of prisoners), we are witnessing a new wave of terror. The Palestinians realize they can carry out terror attacks and then be released."
Ron Kerman, whose daughter Tal was killed at the age of 18 during the terror attack on bus no. 37, wrote Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a letter asking that he call off the release of terrorists. "Now is the time to consider whether the light we see at the end of the tunnel is the light of the locomotive that will eventually kill everyone in its path."
Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon also addressed the expected prisoners' release on Tuesday. "The ministerial committee that dealt with the issue of prisoners' release convened heavy-heartedly and with difficult feelings to decide who among the prisoners will be released this time," he said.
"We don't like it, but we have a responsibility as a government to steer the country according to long-term strategic considerations. I remind that these prisoners are old and committed their crimes prior to the Oslo Accords. We will keep following them."
Ahiya Raved contributed to the report
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