The 26 terrorists that Israel freed as a “gesture” to the Palestinian Authority were taken out of the Ayalon Prison on Tuesday evening and were taken to the checkpoints leading into Gaza and the PA-assigned areas of Judea and Samaria.
As of 1:25 a.m., the 11 terrorists who were released to Ramallah arrived at their destination. They were driven out of Israel's Ofer prison, adjacent to the
Beitunia crossing, and then taken to Ramallah in four PA vehicles, according to AFP.
Shortly afterwards, the remaining 15 terrorists crossed through Erez crossing and entered Gaza.
AFP reported that the terrorists who were released to Ramallah meet senior PA officials and were then transferred to a bus which took them to the Muqataa compound of PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas for a welcoming ceremony.
Kol Yisrael radio reported that the celebrations in Gaza will be toned down, as the Hamas terrorist group which controls the region objects to the peace talks between the PA and Israel.
Hamas official Mahmoud al-Zahar said on Monday that the talks with Israel are “futile” and are “purely a means for the occupation (Israel) to look good to the international community.”
Israel chose to release the terrorists late at night, hoping this will prevent a repeat of the kinds of jubilant scenes usually associated with such releases, as murderers celebrate their crimes and imminent release by cheering, laughing and flashing victory signs. Officials in the Palestinian Authority expressed outrage at Israel's decision to release the terrorists late at night.
Meanwhile, several government ministers called for the release to be cancelled, after it was revealed on Monday that, contrary to government claims that the murderers being freed committed their acts before the signing of the Oslo accords, at least four of them carried out their crimes after the accords were signed on the White House lawn, on September 13, 1993.
Housing Minister Uri Ariel (Bayit Yehudi) said on Tuesday evening that "at the cabinet meeting we were told that all the terrorists who will be freed committed the murders before the Oslo accords. But it turns out that this is not true. Therefore, I demand that the release be stopped and the issue be discussed by the government."
The Deputy Minister of Religious Services, Rabbi Eli Ben-Dahan, also of the Bayit Yehudi party, called on his Facebook page to delay the release of the terrorists.
Rabbi Ben-Dahan said that the ministers who decided on the release exceeded their authority and said that the Supreme Court should look at the issue again.