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      Last-Minute Petition Against Terrorist Release

      With just 48 hours to file a petition against the release of 200 terrorists, a victims' group explains why it hopes to halt Olmert's 'gesture.'
      By Gil Ronen and Hillel Fendel
      First Publish: 8/19/2008, 10:39 PM

      Three-quarters of the 199 Arab terrorists whom the government plans to release from jail were charged with attempting to murder people, including other Arabs, according to Col. (res.) Meir Indor, the head of the Almagor Terror Victims group. These terrorists tried to murder but failed, "merely because the car [they were shooting at] went too fast or the bomb didn't explode," Indor says.

      The group plans to file a petition with the Supreme Court against the release of the terrorists, as it has done several times in past similar instances.   "We don't know if we will succeed," Indor said, "but even if we succeed in putting three or four terrorists back in jail, it's a success." Indor earlier told Arutz-7 that he has been told by "those in the know" that "it if weren't for our court appeals, more terrorists convinced of even graver crimes would be released."



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      "59 of the 199 terrorists didn't serve even half of the time that they should be in jail," Indor said.  "Even worse, there are two convicted murderers in the group."

      The two are Muhammad Abu Ali and Said Al-Ataba.  The former killed twice: He first murdered Yehoshua Saloma in Hevron in 1980, and later, when he was already in jail, he killed an Arab whom he suspected of collaborating with Israel. The second killer murdered a woman, Tzila Galili, with a bomb blast in the Petach Tikva market in 1977.

      Three Minutes for 200 Terrorists
      At least one government minister complained about the decision to free the terrorists, saying they were given only three minutes to discuss and vote on it. "We were just like rubber stamps," he said.  Five ministers voted against the release in the Sunday vote: the four from Shas, and Transportation Minister Sha'ul Mofaz.

      Indor said his group has analyzed the list of prisoners to be freed and found that 17 of the terrorists served less than a year of jail time. It also found that some of those who were imprisoned within the past 18 months will be released, even though they were supposed to serve until 2016 or 2017.

      Tzila Galili, Hy"d, whose murderer will be freed 
      Galili family

      Released to Kill Again
      In the years 2000 to 2006, Indor said, at least 180 Israelis were murdered by terrorists who had been released from Israeli jails.

      In an interview with IsraelNationalNews in Hebrew, Rabbi Eliezer Waldman of Kiryat Arba described his former close student Yehoshua Saloma. "My acquaintance with Yehoshua, may G-d avenge his death, began when he was 14, at a Bnei Akiva seminar to which I was sent in Scandinavia. Yehoshua was from an assimilated family in Denmark and through Bnei Akiva he reached Judaism."

      'I Was Like His Father'
      At 18, Yehoshua came to Israel for a year-long program that included three months at the hesder yeshiva in Hevron. "He became so attached to the method of studying and the atmosphere of the Land of Israel and Hevron that after the year was over he did not want to return abroad. He stayed in Israel and studied at the yeshiva, and despite his lack of background in Judaism, his level of studies was just as high as his friends."

      Yehoshua went to the Hevron market on Tu B'Shvat in 1980 to buy fruit, and was murdered at close range with a handgun and a silencer.

      Rabbi Waldman said the government's decision to free the killer was "shocking" and "an act of lunacy." Yehoshua has no relatives in Israel who can protest the release. "He was like my son and I was like his father," he said, his voice choking.  

      'Where Did All My Work Go?'
      The announcement of the prisoner release also angered many in the Israeli defense establishment. Some 40% of terrorists are released before completing their sentences, according to one GSS (Shabak) official.

      "You have to hear the responses inside the Shabak (Shin Bet) to the release," said the anonymous source. "They work day and night to capture and neutralize terrorists, and all of it is gone in an instant. People in the Shin Bet end up asking, 'Why do we capture these people? Where did all my work go? Where is the deterrence?'"