Supreme Court tells Bereaved Fathers: No Deal for Shalit Yet
The state has not concluded a deal with Hamas for the return of abducted soldier Gilad Shalit and therefore details of the deal cannot be published, Supreme Court President Dorit Beinisch told bereaved fathers who petitioned the court. The fathers, who lost their children in terror attacks, filed their petition as members of the terror victims' group Almagor, in a demand that the the court instruct the State to reveal the names of the terrorists it plans to release.
“At this moment there is no deal,” Beinisch said, after meeting with representatives of the State behind closed doors. “There may be no deal. And therefore we cannot publish details at this time.”
Yossi Mendelevich, whose young son Yuval was killed in a terror attack on a Haifa bus in 2003, said at the court session: “I stand here in the name of 2,000 murder victims who cannot be here.”
"We live a cyclical existence between one freeing of terrorists to another,” he said. “The censorship must be lifted. There is no military secret here.” He asked that the cabinet be forbidden from convening to debate the deal before names of terrorists slated for release are made public and “a serious public debate” is held.
The prosecution replied by saying that “past experience shows that when details of this kind of negotiation are discussed in the media, it causes the other side to make its demands more extreme, in a way that makes it difficult to bridge between the two sides, and inflicts great harm – and could even prevent – the very possibility of achieving the negotiations' purpose, i.e. returning the abducted soldier to his homeland safe and sound, as soon as possible.”
In past deals with terror groups, the list of terrorists to be freed was kept secret until a deal was finalized. Then, once negotiation was completed, objecters were given a very short time to file petitions to the High Court before execution of the deal, and the petitions were rejected.