Jewish Home Leaving Coalition Over Terrorist Releases?
Knesset Speaker Shuli Moallem (Jewish Home) stated this week that Jewish Home will threaten to leave the coalition if the fourth batch of Arab terrorists are released, according to Ma'ariv.
During a closed session with the women of the Emunah organization in Jerusalem, Moallem said that the terrorist release was "the hottest topic" of discussion on the agenda, after the Knesset session ends - and that Jewish Home may not return if it goes through.
"Have no doubt, the Jewish Home party will not sit in government to release more terrorists," Moallem allegedly stated. "I'm sure that if this decision is made, Jewish Home will withdraw from the government." She added that while the party tolerated previous releases, she hoped that this would be a "red line."
Israel agreed to release 104 terrorist prisoners as a "gesture" to the Palestinian Authority (PA) and a precondition to ongoing peace talks. So far, 78 have been released; the final batch is reportedly due to be released on March 28.
The fourth batch of terrorist releases has sparked considerable controversy, as MKs point out that the previous releases have done nothing to further talks, and that several of the released terrorists have contributed to the increase in terror attacks over the past year.
PA chief negotiator Saeb Erekat stated earlier this month that Chairman Mahmoud Abbas was staying in talks solely for the sake of the released terrorists, prompting Israeli officials to reconsider completing the deal.
A senior diplomatic source told Voice of Israel public radio Tuesday that if it turns out, in the coming days, that talks 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.
To add to the controversy, Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon (Likud) 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.