Bereaved Parents on Shalit Deal Secrecy: Gov’t Betraying Us Again?
High Court debates petition calling for publication of names of Palestinians slated for release if Shalit deal finalized. ‘We know how things work during prisoner exchanges. Cabinet will decide on it in the middle of the night,’ bereaved families’ rep says
The High Court of Justice on Monday debated a petition filed by bereaved parents which calls for the removal of the censorship the State of Israel places on details pertaining to an impending prisoner exchange deal for the release of IDF soldier Gilad Shalit.
The petition was filed by bereaved parents and the Almagor Terror Victims Association against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the government and the military censorship, and calls for the publication of reports and details of the deal, including the list of Palestinian prisoners slated for release.
Supreme Court President Dorit Beinish said following the closed hearing that “we were told there is no deal as of yet. There are gaps between the sides and it is possible that there will be no deal. In the current situation, there are no details to publish.”
It appears that the court will reject the petition.
Yossi Mendelevitch, the bereaved parents’ representative at the hearing, said, “I am standing here on behalf of thousands of victims of the horrific terror of recent years, who cannot cry out against their government,” he said.
“We acknowledge the government’s authority to make any decision concerning the release of terrorists and the Shalit deal, despite the fact that we consider this decision to be harmful and irrational.
“However,” he added, “We do not recognize the (government’s) right to withhold information from the public,” he said. “Is the State of Israel, which betrayed us when it failed to protect our children, betraying us once again by not allowing us to know what is going on with those who murdered our children?”
The families asked the court to forbid Netanyahu from convening the cabinet to decide on a prisoner swap before the details of the negotiations are made public.
“We know how things work during prisoner exchanges. The cabinet will decide on it in the middle of the night, and then a 48-hour window will open, which will not be enough for a thorough public debate,” said Mendelevitch.
Attorney Anar Helman, for the State, said during the hearing that the government has yet to reach a decision on a prisoner exchange.
On Sunday the State filed its response to the petition, saying 980 Palestinians are expected to be freed as part of a deal for Shalit’s release.