The Almagor Terror Victims’ Organization dismissed on Monday the letter sent by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to the families of terror victims.
In a response letter it sent, the organization told Netanyahu, “Your letter is a mockery to us.”
“The letter is not worth the paper on which it was written,” the organization added. “You promised you’d inform us about changes in the government’s position and call us for a meeting, and instead you send us a letter! You promised to hold a public debate and raise the issue in the Knesset and that didn’t happen. But you had time to meet with the Shalit family and tomorrow are you going to attend a reception for Shalit.”
Almagor, which assisted some of the relatives of victims of terrorist attacks in filing appeals to the Supreme Court against the deal, called Netanyahu not to participate in Shalit’s homecoming.
“We urge you to at least not hold a welcoming ceremony with the leaders of the state and senior military commanders. Gilad Shalit is a soldier and he is returning for a very heavy price,” the organization wrote.
“For many Israelis this is a second day of mourning and some see it as a day of submission,” the organization emphasized in its letter. “Forget the artificial victory festivals that you’re trying to create. There is no victory here, but a major disaster and a humiliating surrender. Don’t make it look pretty with official ceremonies and don’t take advantage of these ceremonies to pat us with words of sympathy.
“This is getting pathetic. We don’t want empathy but rather action. At least for reasons of consideration for the bereaved families, don’t attend the festival.”
Earlier on Monday, Netanyahu sent a letter to those who lost loved ones in terrorist attacks and now face the prospect of seeing their murderers go free in exchange for Gilad Shalit.
In his letter, Netanyahu wrote, “I understand and feel your pain... I faced many inner debates during the entire negotiation process to return the soldier Gilad Shalit from captivity, and you were in my thoughts the entire time.
“The decision regarding Gilad Shalit’s release was one of the hardest I have made. It was hard for me because it is hard for you,” he said.
“I hope you will find comfort in the fact that I and the entire people of Israel are at your side, and share your pain,” he continued. “Your loved ones are in our hearts forever.”
On Monday evening, the Supreme Court rejected all the petitions that had been filed against the exchange of 1,027 terrorists held by Israel in exchange for Shalit.
The judges wrote in their ruling that the decision on questions of security considerations regarding the released terrorists should be made by the Israeli government. They added that at this time “the fate of Gilad Shalit hangs in the balance and any changes to the deal also could endanger Gilad’s life.”
By rejecting the appeals, the court officially gave the green light to implement the exchange deal. The implementation is scheduled to begin on Tuesday morning.