Israel Set to Free Third Wave of Palestinian Convicts
JNS.org – Israel plans to forge ahead with the third phase of the Palestinian prisoners’ release despite the recent string of terror attacks. The release has been set for Sunday and will include 26 terrorists.
Israel pledged to release 104 terrorists who were jailed prior to the 1993 Oslo Accords, ahead of the resumption of the peace talks in July. The gesture was divided into four phases, two of which — comprising 52 Palestinian prisoners — have already been completed.
A senior Jerusalem source said Tuesday that “government decisions, much like promises made to the U.S., must be kept.” He stressed that “the situation on the ground, including the terror attacks noted over the past few days will not affect the release, despite the fact that they weigh heavily on the public’s mind.”
Interior Minister Gideon Sa’ar said Tuesday that the government is likely to hold a special session ahead of the fourth phase of the prisoners’ release, to discuss whether or not to include Israeli Arab prisoners in the process.
“The prime minister promised [the ministers] that the issue of releasing Israeli-Arab prisoners would be revisited,” he said. “Releasing terrorists is problematic as it is, and it has certainly contributed to the recent wave of terror. We have to reassess the situation.”
As ahead of the previous phases, members of the political Right protested the move. Deputy Defense Minister MK Danny Danon (Likud) on Wednesday facilitated a meeting between MKs from the Right and the mothers of terror victims, who sought to present the MKs with what they called “the consensus against the terrorists’ release.”
“Going ahead with the third phase of the terrorists’ release in beyond absurd, especially given the recent wave of terror attacks,” Finance Committee Chairman MK Nissan Slomiansky (Habayit Hayehudi) said.