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Bennett: No Arab-Israelis in Last Prisoner Batch

Jewish Home head wants Cabinet to discuss cancelling the fourth planned release of terrorist murderers altogether.
By Gil Ronen
First Publish: 3/18/2014, 10:14 AM

Naftali Bennett
Naftali Bennett
Flash90

Minister of Economics and Naftali Bennett, who heads the Bayit Yehudi party and is a member of the Diplomacy and Security Cabinet, made clear Tuesday that no Arab-Israelis will be included in the last batch of terrorist murderers being released at the end of the month, as part of a “gesture” toward the Palestinian Authority (PA).

Speaking on IDF Radio, Bennett called for a discussion to be held in the Cabinet as soon as possible, regarding the idea of cancelling the fourth tranche in the terrorist release altogether, and citing recent statements by PA chairman Mahmoud Abbas (“Abu Mazen”) as proof that there is no point in carrying out any more releases.

“Now that it is clear to everyone that there is no advance in the negotiations – all there is is the firing of missiles [from Gaza] and an escalation by Abu Mazen on his side – I think it is time for the Cabinet to discuss the matter of the fourth tranche in order to try and find the logic [in a release] when Abu Mazen is already saying – 'I just want the terrorists and then I will derail the negotiations.'”

"So, we will give him terrorists just so he can derail the negotiations? What is the logic in this?”

A senior diplomatic source told Voice of Israel public radio Tuesday that if it turns out, in the coming days, that talks with the PA have reached a dead end, Israel will reconsider the release of the fourth and last batch of terrorist murderers that it is planning to free as part of pre-agreed “gestures” toward the PA.

The source said that all sides have an interest in prolonging talks by another year, even without the “framework” document being put together by US Secretary of State John Kerry.

A terrorist who was released in the Shalit deal in 2011 was caught with a knife by security forces on Monday evening.

The terrorist, in his 20s, was caught at the Qalandiya checkpoint and was taken in for questioning. During interrogation he admitted that he had planned a stabbing attack.

The terrorist had been in an Israeli prison for three years after being convicted of opening fire towards a Jewish community in Judea and Samaria. He was one of over 1,000 terrorists who were released in October of 2011 in exchange for kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit.

In the time that has passed since Shalit’s release, many of the terrorists who were freed in the deal have been re-arrested when they were discovered to have resumed terrorist activities.