Member of Bat Ayin Jewish Underground Hopes for Early Release

Member of Jewish group who plotted to blow up Arabs in intifada revenge attack, seeks early release from 15 year sentence.

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Adam Ross,

Ofer Gamliel being led to a 2009 court hearin
Ofer Gamliel being led to a 2009 court hearin
Flash 90

On Monday morning, the Supreme Court discussed the appeal made by Ofer Gamliel to approve his early release from prison.

Gamliel, a resident of Bat Ayin in Gush Etzion, has served 6.5 years of a 15-year-sentence. He was convicted of his role in an aborted bombing of an Arab school in Jerusalem in 2002. Gamliel has said the device was not intended to go off but only to instill fear in the Arab community.

The Lod District Court ruled, earlier this month, that he will not be released with a third of his sentence remaining, contrary to the decision of a parole board.

The District Court said Gamliel had not undergone enough rehabilitative treatment during his time in jail, and ordered him to be brought before the parole board again only after he had undergone more treatment. At the time, the Honenu legal-aid organization said it would appeal the district court decision to the Supreme Court.

Today, Udi Kedar, a lawyer from Honenu, said the court had been impressed by Ofer and the progress he had made in prison, and hoped for a positive decision by the Supreme Court to order his early release. A final decision from the Supreme Court is expected shortly.

Gamliel's family has recently stepped up campaigning for his release, claiming that the release of Arab terrorists responsible for mass-murders of Jews should be "balanced out" by the release of Jewish nationalist prisoners - many of whom were jailed for lesser crimes. They also say Jewish prisoners are treated unfairly harshly in prison in comparison to Arab prisoners who receive vacations on a regular basis.

In 2008, Gamliel carried out a six-week hunger strike in protest of his lengthy sentence, and dim chances of receiving early parole. Following the hunger strike, he was punished by being moved to a solitary cell.