Petition to Freeze Release of Palestinians for Shalit Tape Denied
Terror Victims Association asks High Court to stop scheduled release of female terrorists in exchange for sign of life from captive soldier, saying it is a ‘dangerous precedent,’ but court says decision subject to government’s consideration
A petition filed by the Almagor Terror Victims Association on Thursday demanding to annul the government’s agreement with Hamas, according to which Israel will release 20 female Palestinian security prisoners in exchange for a videotape allegedly proving captive IDF soldier Gilad Shalit is alive and well, was denied.
Supreme Court President Dorit Beinish and Justices Miriam Naor and Ester Hayut said in their ruling that the decision to release the prisoners was subject to the government’s jurisdiction and consideration.
The exchange is scheduled to take place on Friday.
The petitioners asked that the court issue an interim injunction to freeze the process until it rules on the matter. Similar petitions have failed to prevent past prisoner exchange deals.
“The wholesale release of terrorists in exchange for a sign of life is tainted with extreme unreasonableness; a sign of life is a simple humane gesture that is common during times of war,” the petition read.
“The release of prisoners as part of diplomatic negotiations goes against the separation of powers principle,” it said, adding, “The government’s decision to release the prisoners constitutes a moral and legal deterioration, and it contradicts the values of the State of Israel.”
Yossi Zur, whose 17-year-old son Assaf was killed by a Hamas suicide bomber on a Haifa bus in 2003, was among those who signed the petition.
“The release of female terrorists in exchange for a sign of life is a dangerous precedent,” he told Ynet. “Until now, Israel would only return bodies (of terrorists) in exchange for information, but this time it is releasing terrorists who have been convicted.”
Amid rumors that two female terrorists may be released Thursday, thousands of Palestinians, including hundreds of Islamic Jihad members, arrived at the Erez crossing in north Gaza in anticipation of their return.
Gilad Shalit was kidnapped into Gaza on June 25, 2006.