High Court Rejects Petition Against Early Release of Terrorists

The petition was filed by a terror victims' association, Almagor, which sought an interim injunction against the mass release.

Nissan Ratzlav-Katz,

Almagor poster of victims of freed terrorists
Almagor poster of victims of freed terrorists

In a decision handed down on Thursday, the High Court of Justice rejected a petition against the planned release of 256 convicted and imprisoned terrorists. The petition was
Justice Elyakim Rubinstein disagreed with the majority.
filed by a terror victims' association, Almagor, which sought an interim injunction against the mass release until the government provided more details on the prisoners' backgrounds.

The majority opinion, drafted by Deputy Chief Justice Eliezer Rivlin, focused on the issue of the court's lack of jurisdiction in the case: "We found no cause to intervene in the decision of the [State]. In this instance, as in similar previous cases in which the government decided to release prisoners prior to completion of their sentences, the matter is a policy decision that the government is empowered to make, acting within the sphere of its responsibility, and basing its decision on a totality of the security and policy considerations which that entails."

Justice Rivlin wrote that the Supreme Court has repeatedly affirmed in several precedents that the decision to release Arab terrorists from jail in the context of international diplomacy "is an essential act of state and one in which the court will not intervene. It is a matter for the consideration of the competent authorities...."

Justice Elyakim Rubinstein disagreed with the majority and felt that a temporary injunction against the release of the Palestinian Authority terrorists should be granted. In his dissenting opinion, Justice Rubinstein wrote, "In my view, with all due respect to the efforts made by the state's attorneys in a short time-frame, we have not received the necessary full explanations in this sensitive matter...."

Justice Rubinstein went on to describe the serious crimes for which the terrorists on the release list were jailed, calling them "among the most serious and severe offenses." He noted that, in a similar case from over two years ago, terrorists were released from jail in the hope that the PA would thus be encouraged to combat terrorism; however, the Justice asked, "Has the Palestinian Authority government acted against terrorism during these
Deputy Chief Justice Eliezer Rivlin focused on the court's lack of jurisdiction.
two and a half years in such a way that there may have been some purpose in that previous prisoner release?"

Justice Rubinstein wrote that the court was simply not given sufficient information to judge whether all considerations were, in fact, weighed by the relevant authorities in the decision to release the terrorists in question. "In order to make a sound judgment, we should have been convinced that the respondents' decision was critical and arrived at reasonably...."

According to a report released by Almagor in March, two thirds of freed terrorists returned to terrorism after their release. Attacks by such freed terrorists over a seven-year period took the lives of 179 Israelis, according a statement released by the organization on Wednesday. The head of the Justice Ministry's Amnesty Department, Emmy Palmor, said that the recidivism rate among Arab terrorist prisoners granted amnesty and released by Israel was about 17%.