Members of the Almagor terror victims organization, who lost their relatives in terror attacks, met on Thursday in Tel Aviv with Ministers Yair Lapid and Yaakov Perry of Yesh Atid.
The bereaved families asked the two ministers to reconsider the planned release of the fourth batch of terrorists from Israeli prisons. Israel agreed to release 104 terrorists in four batches as a “gesture” to Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas so he would hold peace talks with Israel. Three releases have already gone through.
During Thursday’s meeting, Lapid told the families that the Cabinet had yet to vote on the release of the fourth tranche. Perry, formerly the head of the Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet), told the families that are in any case, terrorists with Israeli citizenship will not be released.
A senior diplomatic source said this week that if it turns out that talks with PA have reached a dead end, Israel will reconsider the fourth terrorist release.
There have been growing calls on the Israeli government to cancel the upcoming release, especially given the fact that several senior PA sources have openly said their only motivation in the talks was to release the 104 prisoners, not to reach an agreement with Israel.
Justice Minister and chief Israeli negotiator Tzipi Livni said that the PA would need to prove its commitment to talks to secure the final batch.
Meir Indor, the chairman of Almagor, told Arutz Sheva following Thursday’s meeting with Lapid and Perry that the meeting was a difficult one due to the pain of the bereaved families.
"Our feeling is that the next release will be determined by public opinion and protest,” he said. “Several government ministers have expressed strong opposition for the next release and we support them in their efforts to block it. There is a majority in the Cabinet against the release of Israeli Arab terrorists and we have asked the government ministers to reconsider the expected release."
The bereaved families will march on Monday near the Park Hotel in Netanya, where a Hamas suicide bomber, who had served time in an Israeli prison and was released, carried out in 2002 one of the biggest terror attacks in history during a Seder which took place at the hotel. 30 Jews were killed in the massacre.
Next Wednesday, the families plan to protest outside the prime minister’s home, Indor said.
Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon this week declared that he would resign his post if the government went ahead with yet another round of releasing terrorists.
Sources close to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu responded to Danon’s threat by saying that even if he does not resign, Netanyahu intends to fire him.