Olmert's Gestures Underway: Terrorists to Jordan, Money to PA

In a "gesture" to King Abdullah & despite victim's mother's plea, Olmert wishes to release four imprisoned terrorist murderers back home to Jordan.

Hillel Fendel,

Terrorists being released
Terrorists being released

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, in a "gesture" to Jordan's King Abdullah, plans to release four imprisoned Jordanian terrorist murderers back home to Jordan. A victim's mother's plea did not help, but a petition to the Supreme Court might.

The Cabinet approved, in its weekly meeting on Sunday, the release of four Jordanian terrorists from prison. They were sentenced to life in jail for the murder of two IDF soldiers in the Jordan Valley in 1990: Capt. Yehuda Lifshitz and Sgt. Pinchas (Pinny) Levy. The murderers are to serve the remainder of their prison terms in Jordan. Olmert says he chose to rely on King Abdullah's personal assurance that they will not be released early.

Immediately after the Cabinet decision, the Almagor Terror Victims Association filed a petition with the Supreme Court against the transfer of the four terrorists. A co-signer of the petition was Sarah Levy, mother of one of the two murdered soldiers. She told Arutz-7 that her request to Prime Minister Olmert not to release her son's murderers was flatly turned down.

"After 2-3 months, they'll get out of prison and become national heroes," Mrs. Levy lamented. "[One of them is] only 34 years old; he can start a family and a new life. But my son, on the other hand, is buried in the earth of Mt. Herzl, and I ask why and for what?"

She said she spoke with Olmert and told him she sees no reason at all to let them go free: "He got angry at me for [trying to stop] him from doing it. He said he believes the King that they will not go free. I asked him if he has any guarantee or supervisory mechanism, and he said no, he just believes King Abdullah."

Neither does Mrs. Levy have great confidence in the Supreme Court, but said she has no other choice but to file the appeal. The Supreme Court ordered the State to submit, by 6 PM Monday, detailed answers regarding the intended release.

Money to the PA
Another Olmert gesture is also getting underway this week: the first of six monthly $59-million dollar payments to the Palestinian Authority of tax monies collected by Israel. Olmert promised Palestinian Authority chairman Abu Mazen of Fatah at the recent Sharm el-Sheikh summit that he would transfer the funds to him; a special mechanism is supposedly being put in place to ensure that the money does not reach Hamas.

The only two dissenting ministerial votes were those of Avigdor Lieberman and Yitzchak Aharonovitch of the Yisrael Beiteinu party.  "The new Fatah-led government has no intention... of arresting a single terrorist," Lieberman explained beforehand. 

Israel plans, at present, to give nearly $360 million to the PA over the next half-year.  This will leave an estimated $200 million debt, after the deduction of the PA's gas, electricity and other debts it owes Israel.

Just Deserts
Meanwhile, Palestinian terrorist Iham Kamamdi, the murderer of 18-year-old Eliyahu Asheri from Itamar a year ago, was sentenced to two life sentences today. He kidnapped the boy from a bus stop, killed him and then buried him in a Ramallah yard, and was also convicted of planning a suicide car bomb attack.

Three Islamic Jihad terrorists killed in an Israel Air Force air strike in Gaza over the weekend were long wanted by Israel for major terrorist crimes, including two of the most infamous attacks of recent years.

Ziad Ranem, a leading Islamic Jihad figure in southern Gaza, planned and took part in the murder of Tali Hatuel and her four daughters as they were driving out of Gush Katif on the day of the Likud Party expulsion referendum in May 2004. He also planned an attack in the then-Jewish town of Morag, in which one Israeli was killed and three were wounded. Ranem was in the midst of planning additional attacks when he was killed.

Another now-deceased southern Gaza Islamic Jihad terrorist, Muhammed Raai, fired a missile at an IDF vehicle in May 2004, instantly killing five soldiers as they were about to unload explosives to be used to blow up arms-smuggling tunnels. Pieces of the vehicle and the bodies were scattered over hundreds of meters in various directions. Just 36 hours earlier, a similar attack claimed six other IDF soldiers.

The third dead terrorist, Raad Fuad Ranem, was an expert in preparing explosives used for pipe bombs and Kassam rockets, and was involved in several shooting attacks.

Four additional Arabs were killed on Saturday night in a second Israeli air strike on a terrorist arms-manufacturing lab in Gaza City.