Gur Hamel, a Jewish security prisoner who was sentenced to life imprisonment in 1999, has gone on a hunger strike, protesting the government's decision to release Arab terrorists who killed Jews in terror attacks, but not to release Jewish security prisoners. According to a statement released by the Prisons Service, Hamel has said that he will continue with his hunger strike until the government releases Jewish security prisoners, as it has Arabs.
Hamel received life in prison for killing an Arab from a village near the town of Itamar, where he was living. Three of Hamel's close friends and neighbors had been killed in the week's up to Hamel's attack, which he admitted was due to the strain of Arab terror that he and others in the Binyamin region faced daily, and his response to the ongoing threats posed by Arabs to Jewish residents of the area.
Friends of Hamel's said that the Prisons Service has isolated the prisoner, out of fear that he will incite others to go on hunger strikes as well. In addition, they said, Hamel's few possessions, including electronic communication devices, have been taken away from him, to ensure that he remains isolated.
Speaking anonymously, a friend of Hamel's said “in recent weeks Gur, like all the other Jewish security prisoners, heard that 104 Arab terrorists would be released, and took the news very badly. Gur said that there was no logic in freeing Arab murderers, but keeping in prison Jews who are guilty of the same crimes."
Shmuel Meidad, chairman of the Honenu organization, which is working to release Hamel and other Jewish security prisoners, said that “unlike the Arab terrorists who are released, the Jewish ones will not continue to kill people. They are seeking to start their lives anew and build families. I can understand Gur's pain – it is unthinkable that Arab terrorists would be freed, but not Jewish security prisoners. I request that the Prime Minister take up this cause and free all Jewish security prisoners in prison for nationalistic crimes. Israelis are waiting for the government to offer a 'gesture' to Jews, as it does to Arabs,” he said.