Despite Terror Wave, Gov. To Free Terrorists
Despite the recent wave of terror attacks since last Friday, the Israeli government intends to go ahead with a third batch of terrorist releases early next week, as part of "gestures" to the peace talks with the Palestinian Authority (PA).
Reports indicate the government will similarly start a new Judea and Samaria building freeze next week as well.
The looming release of 26 terrorists, on either Sunday or Monday, is the third of four installments in which 104 terrorists were promised to go free during the 9 month peace talks.
The Almagor terror victims announced that it will hold a protest vigil opposite Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's home starting Wednesday morning. At the protest a large screen is planned to be set up, where video recordings of bereaved family members asking Netanyahu to cancel the release will be played.
Opponents of the terrorist release note that according to agreements between Israel and the US, each release batch is to be preceded by a special meeting of a ministerial cabinet to determine whether or not to approve the release.
Those against the release argue that if meeting is a rubber stamp process which can only approve the release, there is no point in dividing the release into batches. Rather they reason that the release should be all at once to prevent the anguish of bereaved families.
Opposition to the release has been expressed from within the coalition government itself. Jewish Home Chairman Naftali Bennett commented sardonically that "we continue the diplomatic process as if there is no terror, while the Palestinians are continuing the terrorism as if there is no diplomatic process." Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon (Likud) has similarly opposed the releases.
Former MK Michael Ben-Ari offered a different solution to the terrorist release problem. Ben-Ari protested the last batch of releases in late October, saying "we’re against freeing terrorists, and in favor of killing them."
The terrorist releases come as part of ongoing peace talks, whose secretive contents were recently revealed by PA sources. US Secretary of State John Kerry's proposed plan, which he intends to push through in January, includes international control of Jerusalem, mass Israeli withdrawals in stages, and guarantees from Israel to "earn" its status as a Jewish state.
After initial reports that Kerry might delay the third batch of terrorist releases to pressure Abbas into accepting his plan, Abbas rejected the notion, threatening "total failure" in the talks.