Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon (Likud) is continuing his campaign to stop the release of terrorist prisoners from Israeli jails as a gesture to the Palestinian Authority.
The government is scheduled to vote Sunday afternoon to authorize the release of 26 terrorists in the second of four releases. Danon has been talking to ministers in an attempt to use direct persuasion to prevent the release.
The previous terrorist release, which saw several convicted killers walk free, was clearly linked to a rise in terrorism, Danon warned, speaking to Arutz Sheva. Since that release there have been many attacks, he noted, including the murders of two IDF soldiers, the murder of Yaya Ofer, and the terrorist infiltration and attempted murder of a young girl in Psagot.
Releasing prisoners “means encouraging terrorists, making them stronger, boosting their spirit,” he declared.
Danon rejected the argument that Israel must release terrorists from prison in order to show its good will and avoid accusations that Israel is the party that is preventing Israel-Palestinian Authority peace.
“I can’t imagine that any sane country, including the United States of America, would free terrorists after attacks,” he said. “The United States wouldn’t consider releasing one terrorist.”
“So I say we need to speak the truth, to see what has happened over the past month and to understand that there is no reason to encourage terrorism,” he stated. “Any sane country would do the same, we don’t need to be embarrassed.”
The same is true regarding Israel’s decision to stop cement shipments to Gaza following the revelation that terrorists in the region had used huge amounts of cement to build tunnels to Israel, he said. “When you see that your compassion is being used against you, it’s logical to stop,” he argued.
Danon said he plans to keep fighting the planned terrorist release this month even if it gets government approval. As long as the terrorists have not actually walked free to celebrations in Ramallah, he said, “it is not too late, I believe we can still prevent it.”
He joined MKs from the Bayit Yehudi (Jewish Home) party – and PA officials – in dismissing claims from sources close to Hatnua head Tzipi Livni that the government was forced to release terrorists because the political right refused to allow it to freeze construction in Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria (Shomron) – a move which, they said, would have appeased PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas.
“That’s nonsense. This alternative was never presented to anyone I know, and the attempt to connect construction in Jerusalem and the land of Israel to the release of terrorists is twisted,” he said.
“What needs to happen? Only if Jews are murdered, we can build? It’s an outrage to draw that parallel,” he declared.
But Danon also warned against blaming Livni alone for Israeli concessions to the PA, simply because she heads the negotiation team.
“I’ve openly criticized Livni for her behavior in negotiations, both in the past and today, but I agree that today the general responsibility is on the shoulders of the Prime Minister and the government ministers. We can’t blame Tzipi Livni alone for terrorist release,” he said.