High Court Rejects Appeal Against Palestinian Prisoner Release
Court says it has no right to rule on ‘matter of the State’, prisoners to attend Ramallah ceremony in their honor before heading home. Palestinian minister: Release signifies breaking down of criteria Israel was so adamant about
The High Court of Justice rejected Sunday evening a petition filed by the ‘Almagor’ organization, which claimed that the Palestinian prisoner release scheduled for Monday should be canceled.
The court explained that it had no right to rule on the issue as it is a matter of the State.
The 199 prisoners slated for release, including senior Tanzim figure Hussam Khader, were to be transferred to the Palestinian territories and take part in a special ceremony that will be held in their honor at the Muqata compound in Ramallah before heading home.
However after 198 of them were transferred to Ofer Prison near Ramallah to await their release, the final prisoner’s pardon was revoked due to the discovery that there are criminal charges pending against him.
Palestinian Minister of Prisoner Affairs Ashraf al-Ajrami responded to the prisoners’ release with a moderate tone, saying the number of Palestinian inmates to be set free was “relatively small compared with the 9,000 prisoners that remain in prison.”
However he maintained that the pardons signified “the breaking of traditional criteria Israel had been adamant about.”
Al-Ajrami was referring to the fact that two of the prisoners to be released belong to the category Israel refers to as having “blood on their hands”, Sayed al-Ataba, Fatah operative jailed for 32 years for the murder of one Israeli and the injuring of 33, and Abu ali-Yata, detained in 1980 for the murder of an Israeli and a Palestinian suspected of collaborating with Israel.
Al-Ajrami claimed that the fact that these prisoners were pardoned “is a very important point for the Palestinian Authority, and could provide an opening for the future.”
‘Saddened Sons Won’t Be Freed’
Several West Bank families were disappointed to hear that their loved ones were not on Israel’s list of Palestinian prisoners slated for release as a gesture to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
“I am happy for the prisoners who are being released, but saddened by the fact that my sons will not be freed,” said 60-year-old Umm Muhammad Shtiwi, the mother of three Palestinians who are currently imprisoned in Israel for their involvement in terror-related activity.
“I prayed that at least one of them would be set free, so that we’d experience a little happiness too.”
Asked by Ynet whether she regretted that her sons had chosen the path of terror, Shtiwi said “No, I am not sorry; this is their fate, but when they will finally be released it will be a different story – they will not return to the activity in the organizations. Enough.
“We have sacrificed enough. Very few families have sacrificed what ours has – three sons in jail, another one who is on the run and another who was a hero and died as a shahid,” she said.