The High Court ruled Sunday that the government is legally allowed to release 230 terrorists on Monday as a “good-will gesture” to the Fatah-led Palestinian Authority. The government approved the release last week.
The court rejected an appeal from the Land of Israel Legal Forum, which argued that Acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert should not be allowed to release the terrorists as their release is a step with long-term implications. Olmert should not be allowed to make decisions with a long-term impact because he merely a caretaker Prime Minister, Forum attorneys said.
Another group that attempted to prevent the release was the Almagor umbrella group of terror-victim organizations. Almagor Director Meir Indor pointed out that approximately 80 percent of released terrorists have resumed their terror activities.
The terrorists' release was originally scheduled to coincide with the Muslim holiday of Eid ul-Adha (Festival of Sacrifice), but was postponed by a week. PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas denied rumors that the release was delayed so he could be present when the prisoners returned.
Olmert has released several hundred terrorists and pardoned hundreds more, in an attempt to strengthen PA Chairman Abbas and promote negotiations with the PA. However, according to recent polls PA Arabs' support for Abbas has not risen since the gestures began, and only 15.9 percent named him as the most trusted person in PA politics.
Abbas says there will be no peace with Israel until all terrorists are released from Israeli prisons, including those guilty of dozens of murders.
State: Destroy Terrorist's House
The State Prosecutor's office submitted a response to the High Court on Sunday requesting to carry out a demolition order filed regarding the home of a Jerusalem terrorist. State attorneys told the court that security agents from various agencies see the destruction of the terrorist's home as crucial to deterring potential terrorists. The homes of other terrorists from the Jerusalem area should be destroyed as well, they said.
The terrorist's father had appealed to the court, asking it to overturn the order, which calls for the destruction of two out of four stories in the house of Alaa Abu Dheim. Abu Dheim slaughtered eight young students in the Mercaz HaRav Yeshiva and wounded 11 others, early this year.