Supreme Court Justices Miriam Naor, Edna Arbel, and Daphne Barak-Erez have rejected the petition by the Almagor organization and by the families of victims of terrorism against the release of 26 terrorists. The Court chose to allow the terrorists to go free.
The Justices stated that the government has the authority to determine the appropriateness for release of each of the prisoners, and that "it has been this way in the past and so it is in this case."
The Court also rejected the argument that the release violates the conclusions of the 1995 Shamgar Commission. The Commission "dealt with the issue of releasing prisoners in the case of Israeli kidnappings [. . .] not in the context of international negotiations," the court ruled.
On the other hand, the Court also acknowledged the petitioners' right to bring their concerns for a hearing, and ensured that "in a case of need, these issues can be raised according to the proper procedures."
Israeli Police vehicles began to transfer 5 terrorists to the Erez crossing in Gaza before the verdict was handed down. The rest of the terrorists who are to be set free will be released to Judea and Samaria (Shomron) at midnight.
Almagor head Meir Indor has previously explained that he sees value in filing petitions against the release of terrorist killers, even knowing that the Supreme Court is unlikely to accept them. "It's a protest and an educational effort, that makes it clear that we know what is permissible and what is not," he stated following a similar petition in August.
This is the second round of terrorist releases out of a scheduled four. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has agreed to set free a total of 104 terrorists, many with blood on their hands, in a gesture to Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas.
Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon have argued that the release of terrorists is a necessary part of Israel's long-term strategy. However, Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon argues otherwise, and has warned that setting killers free will encourage terrorists and will be to Israel's detriment in the long term.