Ministers to Vote on Bill Stopping Terrorist Releases
The Ministerial Committee on Legislation will vote Sunday on a bill that would prevent the release of terrorists in "gestures" to the Palestinian Authority (PA). The bill was initiated by the Bayit Yehudi faction, together with Coalition Chairman Yariv Levin (Likud).
Bayit Yehudi expects Likud ministers to support the bill.
"Releasing terrorists in exchange for the dubious privilege accorded to Tzipi Livni, to meet with [PA negotiator] Saeb Erekat, "is a grave matter," said sources in Bayit Yehudi. "With all due respect, stopping the release of murderers is even more important than justifying Livni's existence in the government."
Livni heads the Israeli delegation to US-brokered "peace talks" with the PA.
The sources reacted angrily to the report that the government intends to announce new construction in Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem in order to make the release of terrorists more palatable to the public.
"The attempt to link the construction tenders with the release of murderers is cynical and immoral," they said. "It would be better if the prime minister did not release prisoners and did not build [new homes]. It looks like a despicable attempt to free murderers and also besmirch the settlement enterprise."
The government is expected to vote Sunday to approve the release of a second batch of 26 Palestinian prisoners on Tuesday under the terms of renewed peace talks. The first group of 26 terrorists was released in August.
The government reportedly intends to sweeten the bitter pill of the prisoner release by announcement of new construction in Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem – as it did when it released the first batch of terror prisoners in August.
An Israeli official, speaking to AFP on condition of anonymity, said in a text message Thursday evening that such continued construction was part of "understandings" reached with the Palestinians and the Americans ahead of the renewal of talks.
"Israel will continue in the coming months to announce building in the settlement blocs and in Jerusalem," he wrote. "Both the Americans and the Palestinians were aware in advance of these understandings."