Slain Policeman’s Widow Urges Court to Demolish Terrorist’s Home

Hezki Ezra; Tova Dvorin

Slain Policeman’s Widow Urges Court to Demolish Terrorist’s Home

Hadas Mizrahi tearfully asks the State to reject petition protesting punishment for her husband’s murderer.

Israel National News


Hadas Mizrahi (Hezki Ezra)

Hadas Mizrahi, the widow of slain Commander Baruch Mizrahi hy”d, defended the State of Israel’s decision to demolish the home of her husband’s murderer at a Supreme Court hearing Monday afternoon.

“We are talking about suicide,” she said, referring to a petition to prevent the demolition. “Look at us. We are innocent people who are suffering. We were driving to the [Passover] Seder in our car when [the terrorist] shot at us, he hit Baruch in the head, I managed to hide our children.”

“He ran away,” she said, through tears. “What cruelty is this! We did nothing wrong, we were innocent.”

Mizrahi warned that preventing the demolition from going through would be a missed opportunity to deter future terrorists.

“Maybe demolishing this house will be a deterrent,” she cried. “I am crying to the State of Israel: take care of us. We are your people!”

Mizrahi later explained her speech to Arutz Sheva.

“I came to court today to try to speak to the judge and tell him—’We are talking [about saving] the terrorist’s home, and what about me?’ ” she exclaimed. “I was left with five children, a mother wounded with children who are injured mentally and physically—what, I’m not a part of all this?”

“This terrorist was released as part of a ‘gesture’ and he murdered again,” she continued. “He should have thought twice if he had not wanted to see his home demolished, it is the minimum that should be done.”

Baruch Mizrahi (Flash 90)

Meir Indor of the Almagor terror victims organization agreed.

“It is a fundamental act of justice to destroy the terrorist’s house,” Indor stated to Arutz Sheva Monday. “It cannot be that a terrorist released in the Shalit deal will [just] go back to jail and that the minimum of destroying his home will not be carried out.”

Mizrahi added that the entire experience, overall, was “strange.”

“It’s strange for me to come and ask for [the home to be demolished], as strange as it would be for me to ask for the death penalty,” she said, adding that “it’s obvious he deserves the death penalty.”

“But apparently the State does not understand this, and everyone goes to petition [against it],” she added. “I say to that: Look me in the eyes. Look at me.”

Earlier this week, a petition was filed against the home demolition in the High Court of Justice; the Court rejected the petition “in light of the current security situation” and cited concerns that terrorist Ziyad Awad—who also carried out the attack with his son’s help—will kill again.

“[The terrorist was] released as part of a deal [which] was contingent on not engaging in any terrorist activity,” the High Court noted. “Within a short time he returned to serious terrorism, which also included calling on [the populace] as an imam for suicide attacks against Israeli targets.”

The state also noted that the murder was premeditated, with several “practice sessions,” and that the building had—in any case—been slated for demolition “for years” before the murder.

Mizrahi was driving to Kiryat Arba for a Passover seder meal earlier this year, with his pregnant wife and three of his children, when the terrorist opened fire on the family car. He served as head of the Technology Division in the Sigint Unit, part of the Intelligence Brigade in the Investigations and Intelligence Branch of the police.

Court Implies It Won’t Block Demolition of Alleged Passover-Eve Terrorist’s Home

Yonah Jeremy Bob

Court Implies It Won’t Block Demolition of Alleged Passover-Eve Terrorist’s Home

State commits not to demolish house belonging to suspected murdered of policeman Baruch Mizrahi until at least 12 hours after final court order.

The Jerusalem Post


Border policemen protect an IDF bulldozer. (Photo: Reuters)

Hadas Mizrahi, widow of murdered police officer Baruch Mizrahi, on Monday broke down sobbing at the High Court of Justice hearing on whether to demolish the family home of her husband’s alleged murderer.

She turned to the court, crying, “Look at me! I can’t go on. Enough. We are another family of victims here, more families will be harmed. Maybe this house demolition will be a deterrence. We cry out to the State of Israel.”

The hearing before a three-justice panel of Deputy Supreme Court President Miriam Naor, Justice Yoram Danziger, and Justice Uri Shoham heard a petition by the Hamoked human rights group on behalf of 12 members of suspect Ziad Awade’s family to block the demolition of their home.

The court said it would consider the two sides’ arguments and reach a decision soon, while the state committed not to perform the demolition until at least 12 hours after a final court order.

Hamoked slammed the pending demolition order as a blatant violation of international law. There is a debate whether house demolitions can be considered a military necessity under Article 53 of the Geneva Conventions in order to achieve deterrence or whether they are an illegal form of collective punishment under Article 33. Most countries do not view deterrent demolitions as valid, accepting only demolitions relating to a real-time battlefield situation.

Nevertheless, the hearing focused on Hamoked’s argument that the order contradicted the state’s own 2005 Shani Commission recommendations to cease house demolitions.

The commission had concluded that demolitions are ineffective and create no deterrence of future acts of terrorism, and halted the practice since 2005. However, the commission did leave a window open for reinstating demolitions if the situation radically changed.

The state claimed that the situation had indeed changed and that the demolition is necessary to quash a spike in terrorism in the West Bank since 2013. The state’s brief said there were 1,414 terrorist attacks from the West Bank in 2013 and more than 500 already in 2014, a marked jump from earlier years.

The state also recounted in specific detail eight terrorist attacks between March and June 2014, including three this month alone.

More specifically, the state said there had been a spike in kidnapping attempts over the last year, with seven attempts in the third quarter of 2013, eight in the fourth quarter of 2013, 12 in the first quarter of 2014, and 15 attempts in the last three months.

The state noted that the indictment against Awade describes much of the preparation for his attack, such as shooting practice, taking place in the house which the state wishes to demolish. The state also noted that Awade’s wife and son knew about his attack plans.

In its response to the Awade family’s request to stay the demolition, the state said it would demolish only the part of the structure belonging to Awade’s immediate family and would not demolish a second part where his extended family lives.

Hamoked said that the commission had not analyzed the issue from a statistical perspective, but concluded that sociologically and psychologically no deterrence was being achieved on the ground. The NGO also asked, if the commission reviewing hundreds of demolitions had concluded there was no deterrence, how could it now say that demolishing a single house would achieve deterrence? The NGO added that, even from a statistical perspective, there was no clarity; as the state did not give statistics of terrorist attacks from years prior to 2013 to perform a comparison, merely asking the court to take its word for it.

Moreover, Hamoked submitted an engineer’s opinion that the state’s idea of demolishing only the western side of the structure would endanger the physical integrity of the eastern side, leaving it unlivable.

The NGO also argued that the structure is not even owned by Awade’s immediate family, but by his brother, who it said was unconnected to the attack. The family’s lawyers have said 13 family members occupy the full structure.

Naor noted that the recommendations of a commission, even if state sponsored, do not abolish the state’s statutory powers (such as to demolish houses).

Releasing Terrorists Undermines Security

Yossi Tzur

Yossi Tzur is the father of the late Assaf Tzur, who was killed in a terror attack on the 37 bus in Haifa in 2003.

Releasing Terrorists Undermines Security

Israel Hayom


For years, we at the Almagor Terror Victims Association have decried the release of terrorists. We begged, we pleaded—do not set convicted terrorists free. Do not let murderers roam our streets.

It pains us to say “we told you so,” but we hear how security forces’ reports on the increasing numbers of released Palestinian prisoners who resume terrorist activity were given to the government—the proverbial smoking gun, proving that releasing terrorists costs Israeli lives—but the government opted to do nothing.

Hamas, which should have been crushed and eradicated long ago rather than becoming emboldened by the release of over 1,000 terrorists, continues to provoke Israel by firing rockets and digging tunnels. Any other civilized country would consider missile fire, terror tunnels, abductions and murders a declaration of war. Only Israel chooses to ignore the danger until it harms us.

If security forces were aware of the fact that 50 Palestinians, who were released as part of the Gilad Schalit deal, were in clear violation of their pardon agreement, why did they wait to arrest them? Why did they wait for them to abduct three teenage boys? Why do we always have to wait for the worst to happen before something is done?

If the abduction of Gil-ad Shaer, Eyal Yifrach and Naftali Frenkel two weeks ago, and the murder of police officer Baruch Mizrahi in late April do not constitute a declaration of war, they constitute, at the very least, a gross violation of the prisoners’ clemency agreements, and Israel should therefore announce it is no longer bound by the deal, and that all of the security prisoners who were released will be immediately re-arrested and jailed.

Prior to the Schalit prisoner exchange, we were told that each inmate included in the deal had to sign a binding legal agreement stating he would forgo all terrorist activity. We asked what would happen if a prisoner refused to sign. The government officials shrugged, saying that there was little they could do, as the prisoners in question were part and parcel of the deal, and no one name could be removed from the list.

The government should now be so kind as to reverse its decision. The announcement that the home of the terrorist indicted for Mizrahi’s murder would soon be razed is too little, too late—as many of the government’s decisions regarding terrorists are.

It should be announced immediately that terrorists will not be released, regardless of the circumstances, and that abductions, attacks and attempts to disrupt normal life will meet a disproportional response meant to crush the aggressor.

The conditions of security prisoners’ confinement must be exacerbated immediately, and no compromise should be made in the war on terror, be it in Judea and Samaria or in the Gaza Strip. We must also promote the proper legislation, to ensure that released terrorists are jailed and prevent similar deals in the future.

The Israeli public understands that releasing terrorists poses a threat, that it undermines security and that it is immoral and unjust. Surveys conducted before and after the Schalit deal have proven that.

Sadly, with sufficient funds and the right PR firms, one can brainwash the public and convince people that releasing terrorists is the only viable option. The prime minister chose to toe that line and release over 1,000 terrorists and hundreds of murderers.

Now is the time to stop, reconsider and regain sanity. You do not release murderous terrorists under any circumstances—it is the only way to fight terror.

Attorney-General Seeks to Jail 10 Terrorists Released in Schalit Deal

Edna Adato; Israel Hayom Staff

Attorney-General Seeks to Jail 10 Terrorists Released in Schalit Deal

Yehuda Weinstein asks Prison Service Parole Board to incarcerate 10 terrorists re-arrested as part of Operation Brother’s Keeper, for violating their release agreements • State: Dangerous prisoners’ sentences were commuted due to Hamas extortion.

Israel Hayom


State seeks to impose prisoners’ release agreements in full. Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein (Photo credit: Lior Mizrahi)

Attorney-General Yehuda Weinstein has recommended the re-incarceration of 10 former security prisoners who were released as part of the Schalit deal, filing a legal brief to that effect with the Israel Prison Service Parole Board on Tuesday.

The 2011 prisoner exchange, which secured the release of Hamas captive IDF solider Gilad Schalit, saw the release of 1,027 Palestinian security prisoners, including 280 terrorists serving life sentences.

As part of the presidential pardon granted to security prisoners included in such deals, they are required to sign a binding legal agreement stating that they will relinquish any terror activity.

The 10 Palestinians in question were re-arrested as part of Operation Brother’s Keeper, meant to rescue abducted Israeli teens Gil-ad Shaer, Eyal Yifrach and Naftali Frenkel. According to the state’s brief, all were found to be in clear violation of their release agreements, and should therefore be jailed and made to serve the remainder of their original sentences.

“As part of the Schalit deal, hundreds of dangerous security prisoners, whose sentences were commuted due to Hamas’ extortion of the state, were released. The state seeks to impose the terms of the release, in full, as stipulated in the agreement,” a statement issued by the State Attorney’s Office said.

“We are aware that over the past 18 months there has been a deterioration in the security situation and an increase in terrorist activity against Israeli citizens, including a steady increase in shooting attacks and abduction attempts, and other terrorist activity,” the statement said.

Meir Indor, head of the Almagor Terror Victims Association, urged the government “to do some soul-searching. It pains us to say we were right, but Almagor has always warned that the price [of releasing terrorists] would be abductions and murders and we got both, ” he said, referring to the murder of high-ranking police officer Baruch Mizrahi in a shooting attack in April, for which Hamas operative Ziad Awad, who was freed in the Schalit deal, was indicted on Tuesday.

The IPS parole board is scheduled to hear the state’s motion on Thursday.

Bill Seeks to Revoke Pardon of Schalit Deal Prisoners

Mati Tuchfeld; Edna Adato; Gideon Allon; Shlomo Cesana; Israel Hayom Staff

Bill Seeks to Revoke Pardon of Schalit Deal Prisoners

Likud MK Zeev Elkin seeks to expedite legislation changing status of terrorists released as part of 2011 prisoner exchange from “pardoned” to “paroled,” to facilitate their reincarceration • “It’s high time we changed the rules of the game,” he says.

Israel Hayom


Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee Chairman MK Zeev Elkin (Photo credit: Dudi Vaaknin)

A new bill seeking to revoke the clemency afforded to Palestinian security prisoners released as part of the Schalit deal has garnered the support of MKs from nearly all Knesset factions. The bill is promoted by Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee Chairman MK Zeev Elkin (Likud).

The 2011 prisoner exchange deal meant to secure the safe return of Hamas captive IDF soldier Gilad Schalit included the release of 1,027 Palestinian inmates held in Israel, including some 280 terrorists who were sentenced to life in prison for perpetrating terror attacks against Israeli targets.

They were released under a presidential pardon afforded to security prisoners in such cases. Some two weeks ago, the government approved a bill seeking to enable the courts to impose a life sentence on terrorists without the chance of presidential pardon, thus effectively excluding them from any future deal.

Elkin plans to ask the Knesset to expedite the legislation proceedings, to ensure the bill is enacted without delay.

Current Israeli law stipulates that inmates slated to be pardoned as part of a prisoner exchange must sign a legal document limiting their movements and barring them from any future affiliation with a terrorist organization. As they are pardoned by the president, the law further mandates the exhaustion of due process against them, should they violate the terms of the deal.

Elkin’s bill seeks to change the legal status of such security prisoners from “pardoned” to “paroled,” thus allowing the state to revoke their parole and immediately incarcerate them for the duration of their sentence.

“It’s high time we turn the tables and change the rules of the game. Terrorists need to know that heinous abductions result in their imprisonment—not in their release,” Elkin said Thursday.

“Every terror group must be made to understand that carrying out abductions is useless. They have to understand that any released terrorists always risks being imprisoned again.”

Meir Indor, who heads the Almagor Terror Victims Association, commented on the bill, saying, “We shouldn’t need a cabinet decision to uphold a promise given to [terror victims’] families, that any pardoned terrorist who breaks the law would be re-arrested.”

Political sources hedged that given the wide support the bill has garnered it is likely to pass its Knesset readings without much opposition.

A second bill introduced by Elkin on Thursday seeks to limit the president’s ability to pardon security prisoners and prisoners convicted of perpetrating crimes against the state, giving the government the sole authority to pardon such prisoners or commute their sentence.

Elkin noted that the legislation proposal aims to remedy the current situation, whereby the president can issue a pardon on political or foreign policy grounds rather than on the merits of the particular case.

Meanwhile, lawmakers on the Right, led by MK Moti Yogev (Habayit Hayehudi), introduced a legislation proposal calling for a mandatory life sentence for terrorists who abduct Israeli citizens as part of an armed struggle. Under Israel’s Criminal Code, such crimes are punishable by up to a 20-year sentence.

Support Our Troops

Meir Indor

Lt. Col. (ret.) Meir Indor is the head of the Almagor Terror Victims Association.

Support Our Troops

Israel Hayom


When I first heard about the kidnapping of the teens, I felt great frustration. I was one of the Almagor Terror Victims Association members who led the battle against the freeing of terrorists from prison, knowing that their release would do nothing but set the next kidnapping plot in motion. But our fight failed. We were unable to persuade political leaders to avoid the dark path of releasing terrorists, despite the evidence, both overt and covert, we brought to them showing that the motivation for kidnappings increases after prisoner exchange deals.

The express train barreled past us ahead of the Schalit deal, despite us waving desperately for it to stop. This was followed by the terrible deal under which Israel freed 80 murderers in exchange for merely the right to talk with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. How painful it is to say, “We told you so.” When the Palestinians saw the price Israel was willing to pay, they turned “liberating prisoners” into their top mission.

There is also an operational component to this. It has already been proven that a majority of released terrorists return to their past activities. Among other things, they hatch plots to free their friends left behind in prison. Also, a new generation of terrorists sees that all prisoners have a prospect for release, which enables the recruitment of more young people into the terrorist industry.

The cabinet reports that there have been more than 100 kidnapping attempts just in the past year (where did they hide this data previously?). This is a dramatic number. What will the price be this time? Do we pay it and again encourage further kidnappings? The time has come for an immediate change of direction. Israel must set new rules for the game and adopt the Shamgar Committee report, which includes operational recommendations on how to “correspond” with kidnappers.

The public must not fall asleep on watch, not this time. Pretty soon, “human rights” groups will pop up and begin hounding the IDF and security forces. They will initiate petitions against the searches, checkpoints and arrests. Politicians will also start to lose their nerve. Some have already hinted at this.

“We must not forget that part of Hamas is a political body,” Yesh Atid MK Ofer Shelah said after the arrest of Hamas leaders in Judea and Samaria. Luckily, former Shin Bet chief Avi Dichter was there to correct Shelah and say that Hamas, in Judea and Samaria, is entirely a terrorist group, with no “political” component. But there will not always be someone there to set the facts straight. This means proponents of the current military operation must be ready to take flak, as eventually there will be calls to release terrorists, instead of defeating terrorism.

This is where the public needs to step in. If the Schalit scenario replays itself, the public will be summoned to defend the state from another harmful prisoner release deal. IDF commanders cannot engage in dealing with fire from civilian groups. The public must now establish a “defensive shield.” Ze’ev Jabotinsky already called for this in the 1920s, when he spoke of an “iron wall.” In essence, the public must build a structure of support for the IDF and security forces to go on the offensive on the road to victory over terrorism.

Terrorist Parole Law Is “Practically Ineffective”

Shimon Cohen; Ari Yashar

Terrorist Parole Law Is “Practically Ineffective”

Terror victims org. head rips into law—which doesn’t apply to military courts, or to terrorists convicted until now. And there’s more…

Israel National News


Freed terrorist in Jerusalem’s Old City (Flash 90)

There has been much talk over the new “Life Without Parole” Bill, which passed a Security Committee vote on Sunday, and is slated for a preliminary Knesset reading in the coming days.

The proposed law, presented by Jewish Home MK Ayelet Shaked last December, would allow judges to block the future release of terrorists in a prisoner swap, as a “gesture,” or presidential pardon, by handing down life without parole at the time of their sentencing. Jewish Home Chairman Naftali Bennett praised the bill, saying “today, we end the ‘murder deal’ – a deal which exists only in Israel.”

However, Meir Indor, head of the Almagor terror victims organization, told Arutz Sheva that the new bill has so many legal holes, it is left practically bereft of relevant content.

Indor qualified his criticism by saying that the bill is a positive development, as it shows some consideration by the government for the families of terror victims. But while the bill constitutes a change in the direction of the government, Indor added that its contents cast a great doubt as to whether it can be at all effective in its current wording.

One key shortcoming in the bill according to Indor is that it applies only to terrorists captured and jailed from this point forward.

It does not apply to the thousands of terrorists currently in Israeli prisons, waiting for another deal to free them as occurred in 2011, when 1,027 terrorists were exchanged for IDF soldier Gilad Shalit, who had been kidnapped by Hamas.

The new law should apply to all terrorists, including those currently in jail, argues Indor, adding that a judge could assess their legal records and decide if their acts were serious enough to warrant losing the possibility of parole.

While Indor conceded that there is a certain logic to not allowing retroactive rulings, he noted the Yigal Amir Law, passed after the murder of former Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin by Jewish extremist Amir, which ruled that the murderer of a prime minister can never be released. The law applied to Amir retroactively, as it did not exist at the time of his sentencing.

Indor gave the further example of a law passed against Nazis five years after World War II ended, and according to which Nazi war criminals Adolf Eichmann and John Demjanjuk were sentenced.

What about Military Courts?

Aside from the issue of jailed terrorists, Indor points out that the bill does not cover terrorists sentenced in a military court trial; currently the bill only addresses civilian courts.

Unless the point is corrected, Indor argues that there are enough sources in the State Attorney’s office who will try to find a legal loophole saving terrorists from the law.

Indor emphasizes that the overwhelming majority of jailed terrorists were sentenced in a military court, thereby rendering the bill irrelevant for them. The reason for that is most come from the Palestinian Authority, not Israel, and hence are not Israeli citizens and therefore cannot be tried in civilian Israeli courts.

Just one example of the weight of the omission can be seen in the Arab terrorist murderers of five members of the Fogel family in Itamar, located in Samaria. The murderers were indeed sentenced by a military court, and so in theory terrorists who carry out similar atrocities in the future could still be released without violating the new law.

How Will the Judge Decide?

Another issue Indor raised was the question of the judge’s discretion concerning who is worthy of sentencing without parole. Clear definitions and standards are necessary to prevent judges from ruling based on their own opinion of what sort of act warrants such sentencing, argues Indor.

Indor argued that in a reality in which the public prosecutor’s office has refrained from employing the death penalty despite technically having the option to do so, there is a high likelihood that it will similarly refrain from demanding life without parole. He added that the approach that has been taken until now emphasizes leaving a window of hope open for the “rehabilitation” of prisoners, including hardened terrorists.

Something that Indor would like included in the bill to balance this is a legal mechanism allowing bereaved family members of terror victims to submit an official, recognized legal document, in which they demand the murderer of their loved ones be sentenced without parole.

As an aside, Indor expressed his distress that the bill is being presented as part of a political deal between Jewish Home and Yesh Atid, which has been advancing the latter party’s surrogacy bill. That law has been criticized as an attempt to enable same-sex couples to easily hire surrogates for childbirth, a move raising concerns given the Jewish prohibition on homosexuality.

Indor said that many bereaved parents considered demanding that Jewish Home MKs give up on the parole bill, just to prevent the surrogacy bill. But after some reconsideration, they decided not to go ahead with the call, in order to keep all bereaved parents unified and not to create friction over political or religious issues not directly related to their struggle against terrorism.

Cabinet Okays Bill Curbing Presidential Powers to Free Terrorists

Herb Keinon; Lahav Harkov

Cabinet Okays Bill Curbing Presidential Powers to Free Terrorists

Cabinet approves legislation aimed at limiting presidential pardons, preventing large scale release of Palestinian terrorists in the future.

The Jerusalem Post


Palestinians mark Prisoner Day in Ramallah, April 17 (Photo: Reuters)

The cabinet approved proposed legislation on Sunday to enable courts to sentence terrorists to life in prison without any chance of presidential commutation.

The bill is aimed at preventing the large-scale release of convicted Palestinian terrorists in the future.

The legislation, which received the cabinet’s recommendation by a vote of 15-6 on Sunday and will now go to the Knesset, would allow courts to stipulate in sentencing a clause saying the president will not—as is the case today—have the powers to commute the sentence.

The cabinet also agreed the defense minister will be directed to apply this law to military courts in Judea and Samaria.

Finance Minister Yair Lapid, Science and Technology Minister Yaakov Peri, Welfare and Social Services Minister Meir Cohen and Health Minister Yael German, all from Yesh Atid, voted against, as did Justice Minister Tzipi Livni and Environmental Protection Minister Amir Peretz, both from Hatnua.

Seventy-eight Palestinian terrorists were set free in three batches of prisoner releases since last August as part of a framework deal that led to eight months of negotiations with the PLO. Israel refused to release a final batch of 26 terrorists when it appeared the talks would not be extended past their nine-month deadline.

Each prisoner exchange sparked heated debate inside the country as to the morality and wisdom of releasing terrorists with “blood on their hands.”

“If Israel can’t stand by basic morality, which dictates that murderers should die in prison, then from now on there won’t be a choice,” he said. “If this law existed earlier, then maybe many murderers would have understood that it doesn’t pay to kill Jews.”

Bennett called the legislation a “Zionist response” to the Hamas–Fatah unity government.

Bayit Yehudi faction chairwoman Ayelet Shaked, who co-sponsored the bill with MK David Tsur (Hatnua), said terrorists and people who murder children deserve similar, severe punishments.

“Freeing wholesale amounts of murderers in diplomatic deals makes a mockery of Israeli citizens and shows contempt for them,” she said.

Tsur said the bill does not only apply to terrorists or murderers motivated by nationalism.

“All murder is detestable and there are extraordinary cases … in which we should prevent the murderers from being able to receive a pardon, which is unjust,” he said.

“The bill strengthens judges’ authority by creating an additional level of punishment between life in prison and death sentences, which do not exist in Israel. This will increase deterrence and a sense of personal security for all citizens.”

Transportation Minister Israel Katz (Likud) said the law should be extended to include death sentences for terrorist murders, and that it should apply retroactively to all the terrorists in Israeli jails, including Fatah–Tanzim leader Marwan Barghouti.

Peretz said the legislation was meant for PR purposes only and was deceiving the public.

“The bill only applies to future murders and not those who are in prison now. Therefore, it will not bring deterrence. Rather, it will damage Israel’s image and diplomatic standing, because the government is afraid to govern and is giving the responsibility to someone else [the courts],” the environmental protection minister said.

According to Peretz, the government needs to be able to negotiate releasing prisoners, including Barghouti.

Meretz chairwoman Zehava Gal-On called the bill another punishment for the Palestinian unity government, which will tie Israel’s hands in peace talks.

“[Prime Minister Binyamin] Netanyahu, who less than a year ago preferred a prisoner release to freezing settlements to continue diplomatic negotiations, gave in to the extreme Right and supports a demagogic bill that goes against Israel’s interests,” she said.

Almagor Terror Victims Organization director Lt.-Col. (res.) Meir Indoralso said the bill as it stands does not include thousands of murderers who were already sentenced and could be released in negotiations and as gestures.

To solve the problem, hundreds of bereaved families with Almagor demand to have the bill apply to terrorists who are already in prison, including those who were on the list for the fourth round [of prisoner releases in the last round of negotiations],” he said.