"Don't free murderers! Don't free murders!"
The cry echoed across the busy Jerusalem streets tonight (Wednesday) in a demonstration organized by bereaved families and anti-terror organizations outside of Jerusalem's David Citadel hotel, where US Secretary of State John Kerry is reportedly staying during this round of peace talks with the Palestinian Authority.
Kerry, along with other US officials, has been increasing pressure on Israel to make even more terrorist releases, prolonging the pain of bereaved families. Last week's controversial and much-debated release of 26 convicted terrorists to civilian areas in Judea, Samaria, and Gaza prompted a last-ditch effort to declare the move illegal under a supreme court ruling. The effort ultimately failed, as did a string of protests outside of Ofer Prison, but the fight to prevent future releases continued tonight through the public demonstration and press conference.
One of the protest participants was Yitzchak Maoz, father of Tehila Maoz, who was murdered at age 18 in the 2001 Sbarro massacre in Jerusalem. "I am here because I don't want to see any more bereaved families in Israel," Maoz stated. "A sovereign state cannot treat its own citizens lightly, and to release terrorists with blood on their hands is unjust and immoral."
Lizzie HaMeiri, organizer of the demonstration and member of anti-terrorist organization Almagor, stated to Arutz Sheva, "We came tonight to protest against the hypocrisy of US Secretary of State John Kerry, on his demands to our government to release murderers with blood on their hands. When the US is notified that among the released terrorists is someone who murdered American citizens they request that the terrorist not be released. Is an American citizen's blood redder than an Israeli's? It's immoral."
"We ask here for the US not to sell our blood for the sake of negotiations with the Palestinians," HaMeiri continued. "Israel is not stupid. Negotiations with the Palestinians will lead to more terror [attacks]."
Chairman of Almagor Meir Indor arrived at the hotel to personally deliver a letter of dissent to Kerry, where he demanded that Kerry act according to US policy, which is not to negotiate with terrorists and certainly not to release murderers with blood on their hands.
During the demonstration, Kerry's motorcade passed; demonstrators tried to approach, only to be stopped by security forces.