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Olmert: I'll Let 250 More Terrorists Go Free

PM Olmert promises to release another 250 terrorists from prison, as a goodwill holiday gesture to PA chief Abbas. MK Gabbai: It will harm Shalit.
By Hillel Fendel
First Publish: 11/17/2008, 5:45 PM

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Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has promised to release yet another 250 terrorists from prison, as a goodwill holiday gesture to PA chief Mahmoud Abbas.

Olmert made the promise in a meeting with Abbas in Jerusalem on Monday afternoon.

MK Ruby Rivlin (Likud) said about the news of the planned release, "We are tired of Olmert and his political tricks. He is no longer relevant to the diplomatic process and he may not obligate himself in the name of the State of Israel."

Indor: 180 Have Been Killed
Col. (res.) Meir Indor, head of the Almagor Terror Victims Association, says that 180 people have been murdered by released terrorists.  He has long warned that at least a third - "and probably more than half" - of released terrorists return to terrorist activity, "thus creating another cycle of terror and bloodshed."

Indor has directed a call to the ministers of the Kadima party to vote against the decision, explaining: "Olmert is trying to cause Kadima, headed by his political rival Tzipi Livni, to lose the coming elections by tying their hands to various extremist and strange decisions that he is making... Olmert wishes to empty out the prisons of Palestinian terrorists, and empty out the country of Jewish land."

Gabbai: Hurts Shalit's Chances
MK Eli Gabbai (National Religious Party) said that the decision harms kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit's chances for release.  "This gesture, from an irrelevant Prime Minister to the irrelevant Palestinian Authority, will make no impression on anyone in the PA.  The only thing it will do will be to harm, once again, Shalit's chances to be freed, and to increase, once again, the number of terrorists Hamas will demand for his freedom."

Noam Shalit, Gilad's father, similarly attacked Olmert's decision, saying it will lead Hamas to "double and triple their demands."

Olmert and Abbas - both of whom are likely not to be in office in a matter of months - also discussed the upcoming Palestinian Authority elections, two months away.  Abbas has said he will not run, though this is not certain.

Olmert said he would order the release of 250 terrorists in time for the Eid al-Adha holiday, three weeks from now. The holiday commemorates Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his son Ishmael at G-d's command, although the Bible clearly states that the son in question was Isaac. Ishmael is considered to be the Patriarch of the Moslems, while Isaac's son and grandchildren were Jacob and the Twelve Tribes of Israel.

The Eid al-Adha festivities, which follow the annual Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca, last for 2-3 days, or more, depending on the country.