Deputy Minister Ofir Akunis (Likud-Yisrael Beytenu) on Saturday night called on Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu not to release any more terrorists as a “gesture” to Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas.
"Releasing terrorists is an immoral step which does not provide security and does not promote peace. Since the previous release, the terrorist attacks have only increased," said Akunis.
He added that the link that has been made between releasing terrorists and construction in Judea and Samaria is a strange and inappropriate link. “We should continue to build and develop everywhere, irrespective of the release of murderers,” said Akunis.
The special ministerial team headed by Netanyahu, which is in charge of deciding on the identities of the terrorist prisoners to be released, is expected to meet on Sunday or Monday and discuss the upcoming release.
Reports this past week said that, in tandem with confirming the release, Israeli authorities would announce a new swathe of Jewish housing to be built in Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem.
The "trade-off" is seen as a way for Netanyahu to placate nationalist members of his government, who are opposed to the proposed release of convicted terrorists. Sources from the Bayit Yehudi party have told Arutz Sheva they were staunchly opposed to the attempt to tie the two issues.
The Ministerial Committee on Legislation is expected to vote Sunday on a bill, initiated by the Bayit Yehudi, that would prevent the release of terrorists in gestures to the PA.
Political sources who spoke to Arutz Sheva on Friday morning revealed that Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, who heads Israel’s negotiations with the PA, is working on burying the Bayit Yehudi’s bill.
Livni apparently fears that the bill would make it harder for her to appease PA leaders, who have repeatedly threatened that there will be no peace agreement with Israel without the release of every terrorist from Israel’s prisons.
A representative from the government secretary’s office reportedly called one of the MKs who initiated the bill and said it would be taken off the table of the ministerial committee for legislation.