Israel Nixed ‘Mega-Terrorists’

Israel agreed to Hamas demands to free 320 terrorists but drew the red line on 120 men whose release would damage security, Olmert said.

Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu,

Suicide bombing at Hillel cafe in 2003
Suicide bombing at Hillel cafe in 2003
Israle News Photo: Flash 90

Outgoing Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said Tuesday night he will not agree to all of Hamas’s demands for the return of kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit. He blamed the terrorist organization for blocking an agreement by rejecting Israel’s offer to free more than 300 Hamas terrorists, including those who carried out murderous attacks against Israel.

The government agreed to free several of the terrorists on condition that they be deported to other countries. They include those who were convicted for planning or carrying out suicide bombings and other attacks that resulted in the deaths of more than Israeli soldiers and civilians.

The Prime Minister has informed the Shalit family of the status of negotiations.

He added that Israel is the only country in the world that would offer to free terrorists convicted of murder in exchange for a single soldier. However, the Prime Minister added, "We will not agree to release more prisoners from the Hamas list beyond the hundreds of names that we agreed to and announced to them."

Government negotiators trying to win the release of Shalit told the Cabinet Tuesday afternoon that they could not agree to Hamas’s demands for freeing 120 terrorists because doing so would damage national security.

Hamas issued a statement blaming Israel for changing the list of terrorists at the last minute and breaking up the chances for an agreement. Hamas official Salah Al-Bardawil, stated that Israel was trying ‘to avoid” Hamas’s demands. Prime Minister Olmert said that efforts still are being made to reach an agreement.

Meanwhile, Israel is continuing to restrict the movement of goods at Gaza crossings to humanitarian shipments. A key Hamas aim is re-opening the crossings to all commercial shipments and traffic.

Among the terrorists who the negotiators, Ofer Dekel and Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) chief Yuval Diskin, refused to include on Hamas’s “wish list” are those behind the attacks on the Moment and Hillel restaurants in Jerusalem and on the old central bus station in Tel Aviv.

The Bethlehem-based Ma'an news agency claimed that Israel will free all 450 "heavy" terrorists whom Hamas demands but that the status of four of them is not clear. They are among terrorists whose release was denied by the government, according to the Voice of Israel report.

They include Abbas al-Sayyed, who planned the Netanya suicide bombing that killed 29 Israelis, and Abdullah Al-Barghouti, who is serving 67 life terms in jail for attacks that murdered 66 Israelis and wounded hundreds of others, including those in the attack on Moment.

The other two who Ma'an named are Ibrahim Hamid, who planned several murderous attacks that led to the killing of more than 60 Israelis, and Ahmed Saadat, the head of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) who was convicted of arranging the assassination of Israeli Tourism Minister Rechavam Ze’evi at the Hyatt Hotel in Jerusalem in 2001. 





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