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July 28, 2013 2:16 pm

Israel Cabinet Approves Prisoner Release Plan; PM Netanyahu Says ‘Tough Decision’ as Citizens Protest and Minister Warns of Release of Fogel Family Killers (VIDEO)

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Israelis protest the Cabinet's decision to free 104 prisoners, with "blood on their hands." Photo: Tazpit News Agency, Screenshot.

Israel’s Cabinet on Sunday approved a plan to free 104 Palestinian convicts, responding to a Palestinian Authority pre-condition to reviving peace talks, while several ministers warned of unintended consequences from the decision and Israeli citizens demonstrated outside Prime Minister Netanyahu’s office to protest the move.

Ahead of the cabinet meeting, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu justified the move saying, “there are moments in which tough decisions must be made for the good of the country and this is one of those moments.”

“Today, we will authorize a ministerial team to determine the identity of the prisoners that will be released after the opening of the diplomatic process and in keeping with its progress. The team under my leadership will include Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon, Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch and Science, Technology and Space Minister – and former ISA Director – Yaakov Peri,” Netanyahu continued.

“This moment is not easy for me. It is not easy for the ministers. It is not easy especially for the families, the bereaved families, whose heart I understand. But there are moments in which tough decisions must be made for the good of the country and this is one of those moments,” Netanyahu concluded.

As the prime minister was making his remarks, dozens of protesters, many whose relatives were killed at the hands of Palestinian terrorists now in prison, and who may now be released, demonstrated to show their disapproval of the plan.

Economy Minister Naftali Bennett said, “Unfortunately, the decision today will bring to a situation where it is possible for the day to arrive when the killers of the Fogel family will be released,” according to Israel’s Channel 2.

In March 2011, two teenage cousins from a nearby Arab village scaled the security fence surrounding the town of Itamar located in the West Bank. They crawled through the window of the Fogel home and, once inside, brutally murdered parents Udi and Ruth, 11-year-old Yoav, 4-year-old Elad, and 3-month-old Hadas.

“We go down a slippery slope,” Bennett said. “Once we released one terrorist for one live soldier, then hundreds of terrorists in exchange for one live soldier, then dead terrorists in exchange for a soldier, and now a hundred terrorists in exchange for a ‘process’. We show the world that here everything is negotiable.”

Bennett wondered out loud why the government would free prisoners now after similar moves in the past have led to waves of terror: “They talk about how the process will bring peace. The reality is the opposite. Oslo brought suicide bombings in 94′-95 ‘, Camp David brought over a thousand deaths.”

The situation is because of the “two states” paradigm, Bennett said. “This is the heart of the problem. This concept is fundamentally wrong, we need to change it. I also call on everyone to stop saying: ‘If a Palestinian state is not established, that will be the end of Israel.’ Israel will prosper even without a Palestinian state.”

Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon also attacked the decision: “Releasing the terrorists is a prize for terror and will damage the strength and deterrence of the country… The despicable terrorists will be the stars of the Summer for Palestinian children. They will move from stage to stage, their pictures flying in the streets, the Palestinian leadership will celebrate with the killers in the night, and in the morning come with us into the negotiating room.”

Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, who voted for the prisoner release, told Israel’s Channel 10 before the vote: “There is a heavy price in the decision to release terrorists, both in terms of justice, and in terms of deterrence. I wish that we would not come to this dilemma, but in the current situation, there would be a heavy price for a decision not to enter the political process, and it being our fault.”

Minister of Science Jacob Perry, who voted for the resolution, said: “As someone who was directly responsible for the pursuit and the arrest of many of these murderers, the decision is difficult, heartbreaking and tragic in terms of the bereaved families.”

Watch a recording of today’s demonstration against the release of prisoners below:

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  • PM Netanyahu who I have admired for decades claims this is a “tough decision”. I respectfully disagree with the P.M.. It is easy to bow to outside pressure and truly tough to avoid appeasement by bowing down international pressure; especially that pressure from the Israel hating marxist in the White House and his arrogant lackeys.

  • יואל נצרים

    מה יש בארץ? להחליף רוצחים בעד מהלך שודאי עולה נפשות ישראלים? איפה הטעם בהחלטה הזו? מה הממשלה הישראלית תשיג בוויתור כזה? מה שוכחים מה שקרה להמון אזרחי-ישראל או במשך מהלך לשלום או מיד סוף המהלך בעבר? אין בקשר עם עבריינים פלסטיניים שום דבר חיובי למדינת ישראל!

    “The country has swapped killers for a move, certainly shows Israeli people what is happening. What is the point of this decision? What’s the Israeli government get from such concessions? Who forget what happened a lot citizens – Israeli peace process or during or immediately before the end of the move? There is no connection with the Palestinian criminals, nothing positive here for Israel!”

  • Vivienne Leijonhufvud

    As of now Death penalty statute for all terrorist attacks and murder, on the grounds of treason against Israel and her people. Death penalty applied to terrorist from age of 18 pre 18 secure remand centres where rehabilitation must be undergone with the opportunity at the end of a minimum of 15 years Israeli citizenship be offered. Thereafter first three years after release probation and continual rehabilitation and tagging. I am disappointed in the PM’s inability to decide to freeze peace talks, yes governing is tough and it is tougher not to bow to Abbas and his terrorist armies and rockets. This is a grave mistake Mr. Netanyahu even if only a the odd prisoner is let out at prescribed intervals.

  • Vivienne Leijonhufvud

    I fail to see how releasing 104 terrorist prisoners will assist peace talks? Abbas, Kerry and Obama are blackmailing Israel. The whole nation is against this policy and as PM and the rest of the cabinet the nation’s view on this decision must be adhered to. Israeli cabinet are quite capable of doing as Abbas and freezing any further peace talks. Why this has not been done is incomprehensible.

    There will not be peace with Abbas and his cronies or the terrorists backing him. Palestinian children are already trained to kill and within ten years will be doing so for real. Israeli cabinet, withdraw all agreements to deal on the basis Abbas withdraws 60,000 missiles targeted on Southern Israel, further school curriculum be changed and lastly Abbas refrains from dealing with Terrorist groups. Why don’t you stand your ground Netanyahu and the rest of the cabinet need to back you. There will be no land returned and no going back to ’67, the alternative is war – for the sake of Israel and her people this is the best way forward, all territory gained remains Israel’s. Palestinians wishing to become Israeli citizens now is the time. Israel cannot and should not bow down to the US – go to Russia and other nations for funding. I am assuming all weapons from US are paid for therefore go it alone.

  • Steve B

    The only solution to this problem is execution. When Israel jails a terrorist, that individual, upon being found guilty, must be executed. Then they cannot/will not be used as “bargaining chips”.

  • Chaim F

    Yaalon, Perry and Netanyahu are idiots!! Have they learned nothing? They allow themselves to be pressured into negotiations which, even if they lead to nothing arouse the aspirations of our enemies encouraging more terror. And then they justify the release of murderers and scum as necessary to the negotiations! This is irrational thinking at its best and illustrates, once again, the self-destructive essence of Zionism whose main goal is that the “world” should accept a Jewish right to simply exist. In the end, the Zionists will willingly surrender Jerusalem and Tel Aviv if they think doing so will bring acceptance.

    • Steve B

      Unfortunately, you are 100% correct.

  • Adrian

    Have we not learned anything from the past… Letting go prisoners is telling them….. Go ahead kill as many as you can, they will hold you and feed you better than you can feed yourself, give you medical treatment ….. And in a couple of years we will talk about starting peace talks ( LOL) and we will have you back home as heroes………… UNBELIVABLE. WHAT A JOKE THEY ARE MAKING OF US.


    “The situation is because of the “two states” paradigm, Bennett said. “This is the heart of the problem. This concept is fundamentally wrong, we need to change it. I also call on everyone to stop saying: ‘If a Palestinian state is not established, that will be the end of Israel.’ Israel will prosper even without a Palestinian state.””-by Bennett.
    This is the most correctly worded, hit the nail on the head as a matter of fact. But I wonder if Mr Bennett knows his source of inspiration. Just as Peter not knowing about God revealing to Him when declaring Jesus Christ as the Son of The Living God. The God of Abraham. Isaac and Jacob,[and of Joseph], entered into unchangable albeit irrevocable, irreversible covenant [because God sworn by Himself as none was/is/will-be greater than Himself] with His people to prosper them. Palestinian or no Palestinian the blessing/prosperity will continue.
    [1]. “Concept fundamentally wrong”. That is true; however, in the current climate-the climate which Israelis rightly or wrongly created for themselves, they need the presence of Palestinians for the blessing and prosperity not to be broken. This is the painful reality.
    [2]. “We need to change it”, [Absolutely YES]. Israelis will not need the Palestinians when they use the POWER & AUTHORITY by FAITH-[Forsake All I Trust Him “Jesus Christ Only”] provided for them by the GRACE-[God Redemption At Christ Expense] of God the Father through Jesus Christ our Saviour couple with penitent heart of fasting and prayer to grasp His mercies-UNMERITED FAVOUR of God the Father. It is that so simple and easy. As a Christian, I know, and fully aware, it is that simplicity that becomes the barrier in the rolling wheel of Israelis Spiritual progress. [That barrier will be destroyed in Jesus’ name]. This is where Born Again Christians come in. To stand with Israel in fasting and prayer. Remember, we worship Jewish God, Christ was born as Jewish. We are Abraham Spiritual Children, not replacing Jewish as Abraham Biological Children. David, the man after God’s heart says: Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee. Christians, let’s do ourselves favour, pray for The Land, The People and The City of David, Shall we! The time is NOW.

  • Anthony C. Abela

    This is indeed a travesty by the Jewish nation, giving in to the demands of the Palestinians before anything is settled. The Jewish Nation has given up on J_W_H’s protection and His might to protect you. After you release the criminals, nothing will come out of it. Abbas is stalling for time hoping that someday by the help of Iran, you will be pushed back into the sea. My question to Netanjahu is this, how much of Jerusalem is he going to concede to the Arabs?. If he says “nil” then he is deluding himself to thing that there are any prospects of settlement of this issue, which leads us to the question, why are the criminals being released?. At least he should have stated that no murderers will be freed. May J_W_H be with you, you are going to need him more then ever.

  • Harry Orenstein

    What are our cabinet and leadership doing and why?
    Not for the first time is Israel releasing convicted terrorists and killers:

    1985 – 1,150 prisoners for 3 captured Israelis;.

    2000 – 450 Arab prisoners for 3 Israeli bodies and a kidnapped Israeli;.

    2008 – 5 Arab prisoners (including the psychopath Samir al-Kuntar) and 199 Arab bodies for 2 Israeli bodies; and.

    2011 – 1,027 Palestinian prisoners for Gilad Schalit.

    We knew what we were getting in return then, but now?

    This whole “release” fiasco is repugnant and immoral,
    Harry “Hershy” Orenstein.
    Elazar 90942

  • Michael Garfinkel

    In 1942, when the Germans insisted on deporting 20,000 children from the Lodz Ghetto to death camps, “King Chaim” Rumkowski, the Judenälteste – Jewish head of the Lodz ghetto, gave his most infamous speech, “Give Me Your Children.” The deportation, or Aktion, was successful.

    Netanyahu doesn’t know it, but he was quoting Rumkowski when he said “there are moments in which tough decisions must be made for the good of the country and this is one of those moments.”

    Which begs the question – is the release of the murderers of Jewish children that much different from the deportation of living children to be murdered?

    Indeed, can the state of Israel survive such profound dishonor?

    • jacob mandelblum

      You are forgetting that the GHETTO JEW mentality you, me and the lamppost would have sworn disappeared into thin air through the crematory smokestacks, is alive, kicking and dictating policy in Israel and this last stupidity proves “ad nauseam” my point…
      Remember the cabinet still discussing whether to abort or continue the ENTEBBEE rescue operation to the point the planes en route were reaching the “non-return” point…??????
      This idiocy will sit in my mind till the day I croak and likewise all the stupidity of exchanging cutthroats for skeletons….
      And to this day, I still wonder why was EICHMANN executed and not any of these animals…
      But since it is OK with most of the Israeli people, then as in Burger King’s motto;
      “HAVE IT YOUR WAY”…!!!!

  • Before negotiation Israel has to free more than 100 terrorists. Why?

  • Judy Silver-Shapiro

    Land for peace has never worked. Releasing prisoners with Jewish blood all over them has proven that they only return to their old ways, and murder JEWISH innocents again. The pressure obama, kerry and the US gov’t exerts on Israel is enormous. Hpwever, Israel tells the world she must always negotiate from a position of strength. Releasing ‘palestinian’ muslim slaughterers of Jews is caving in to all that is wrong. How ISRAEL can sit down across from vrmn who laud hitler and the ‘Final Solution’ (the ‘palestinians’)is beyong human comprehension and sensibility, isn’t it?

  • Mel

    Release them at the Knesset, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and 10 Downing Street, where they can do what they do best!

  • Daniel

    This is complete bankruptcy of the policy of appeasement.

  • Wallace Edward Brand

    What about the killers of Talia Hatuel?

  • WatcherOntheWall

    My question is what will the Palestinians give up for the prospect of peace with Israel? Yeah, that’s what I thought. . . . nothing!
    Israel loses before the negotiations even begin!

  • Ronit Fraid

    Why release murderers? What of the blood of our people? Is it so worthless? Has releasing prisoners ever led to resolution of the differences between us? It is incomprehensible and shocking that injustice such as this could lead to any positive outcome. Someone please explain!

  • rick

    Looks like Obama,Kerry and Clinton rule Israel now

    • Elliot J. Stamler

      Yes, you Republican fanatic, blame Kerry, Obama and Clinton for this as well as for everything else under the sun including hurricane Sandy. Why don’t you gulp and recognize you have LOST the last two elections and very likely will deservedly lose the next one too. I am proud to be a Jewish Democrat and a Zionist.

      • David Castelli

        Elliot, Dispense with the partisan cheap shots. Between the EU and the US Government, Israel IS being backed into a corner. Withholding arms and supplies to maintain Israel’s military defenses has been used by the United States, under both parties in power in Washington D.C.

        Read your history, not your political playbook of rhetorical comments. Kerry has implied in public that time was getting “short”, unless certain unnamed demands were met.

        Now that we see the concession of both the PM and the Knesset, an unspoken, but obviously intimidating ultimatum has been given, or to use the intimidating rhetoric from the movie “The Godfather,” Kerry has made Israel “An offer they can’t refuse.”

        The shameful secrecy of what what should be HONORABLE diplomatic negotiations, is deplorable.

        Whatever happened to the the 1922 League of Nations “2-state solution” that carved the future state of Israel in half, and gave the Arabs artificially-created in Jordan?

        THAT is where they were all supposed to be. Instead, they have shirked this, attacked Israel in 1948, and now insist on owning once again Israeli territory that was occupied by Jordan, Syria, and Egypt.

        If Israel existed on land the size of a postage stamp, it would still be too much for these radicals.

        I’ll use another analogy: If I become a squatter in your house, even while you live there, does that give me right of ownership to possess or own it, while those who believe I have that right subsidize my living expenses in order to make my actions more effective?

        That is EXACT what is happening in Judea and Samaria, I saw it and documented it myself during a visit there 2 years ago. UNESCO and UNRWA, along with the US government and others are doing this wholesale.

        Israel is being coerced into doing the unthinkable, let alone the unpardonable action of releasing these murderous people. I found a spreadsheet from the Ministry of Justice that summarizes their crimes, these are radical killers, not “political prisoners,” AKA “Prisoners of conscience”…

        The only reason they are alive today, is because Israel does not have the death penalty for criminal acts. The only exception to this, was when Nazi war criminal Adolph Eichmann was brought to Israel, tried, convicted and hanged. They buried him at sea, rather than defile the land with his body.

        Israel has full legal right to ALL of the land ceded to her in the British Mandate, the Treaty of Versailles, the Jewish-Arab accord of 1919, the San Remo Resolution of 1920, and the League of Nations Resolution of 1922, which the UN fully knows are still completely legal and enforceable under international law.

        Kerry, the EU, and of course, the Arabs all conveniently forget that, I wonder if the Knesset has also?

        But no matter how you slice this pie, the fruit is rotten and toxic as can be.

      • jacob mandelblum

        What a peon like me would like to ask intelligent people, intellectuals, etc,. is the real reason
        for this unflinching insistence in solving the Arab-Israeli conflict, come hail or high water..
        Did any of them (USA, EU, UN, etc,.) put the same persistence into stopping the hundred of thousands killings of South Sudanese people by the northern Sudanese Muslims…???
        I firmly believe the plight of those poor people was incredible worse than the situation of the “poor” invented people in these last 60 plus years…
        Or is it rather the “love” for Israel or the effect of Arab oil…???????

  • This is sheer insanity! Is not the past prologue?
    Have we not had enough released terrorist murderers who
    have become models for further murders? As for those who
    have murdered children, remember what Golda Meir said:
    “The punishment for the murderer of a child has not yet
    be determined.” If this is what keeping such murderers
    alive in prison, then take no more prisoners!

    • Elliot J. Stamler

      On this point I fully agree with you. I have frequently commented that Israel should not be imprisoning terrorists, it should be routinely executing them. Jewish blood will be shed in future because of this decision. The murderers being released are precisely the Arabs who will never ever be reconciled with Israel. Much as I admire and respect PM Netanyahu and hesitate to second-guess the decisions of the Israeli government (not being an Israeli nor living there) I just can’t understand how the cabinet thinks this action will truly further peace. It won’t. There is not going to be any peace for the forseeable future and probably not the distant future-those are the grim facts.

  • Uriahh

    It’s not hard to predict the likeliest results of the forthcoming “negotiations”:
    Israel will free the number of prisoners promised to Abbas.

    The talks will proceed with much hope for results and with press leaks to sabotage them, and then they will end with the Palestinian delegation walking out in a huff.

    But sadly, the deal won’t include re-capturing the Arab murderers who were set free. So once more, Israel will have been pressured by the USA (this time by John Kerry). The released thugs will go back to assaulting and murdering Jews and peace will be even more remote. And the Gordian knot that is the Middle East will remain unbroken.

    Is there a cure for cynicism in re’ Israeli/Palestinian negotiations??

    • jacob mandelblum

      I only hope when these cutthroats return to their terrorist routines, this time they kill or maim blood relatives of those who set them free…
      Wouldn’t it be true poetic justice…?????

  • Efram Paul

    This is just wrong. Period.

  • Something very wrong with the leaders in Israel! I thought they were great and Netanyahu should no better after his brother and the Entebbe raid. Mr. Netanyahu said it wasa tough decision? Well it looks like he avoided the evidently real tough decision ” to hold them in prison”.
    AHAVA Israel!

    • What is wrong with my comment? Is that being censored, now? I am speaking the truth!

  • Stuart singer

    You are mad and fools. When will Jews ever learn not to sell there souls and I thought this prime minister had balls. But he is just another coward.

  • If the Fogel family killers are released, will anyone be arrested who shoots them on sight? How can any Israeli minister go into a room with Palestinian negotiators who have been cheering killers as if they were human beings or better? And why is it always Israel that has to make these concessions?

    • jacob mandelblum

      The first thing Israel should do away with is their Judicial Dictatorship and make a clean sweep of the lefties it has in every crevice of its bureaucracy.
      Institute the death penalty for atrocious crimes from
      “invented people” as well as Israeli criminals…
      But it will never happen, because when not long ago, there was a proposal of appointing the High Court justices the way they are in the USA, Ms.BEINISCH called it undemocratic” and no less than NETHAYAHU
      supported her….