Freed terrorists
Freed terroristsIsrael news photo: Flash 90

The second phase of the deal to release Gilad Shalit – the release of an additional 550 terrorists – is set to take place next week. In response, the Shurat HaDin legal rights group filed a petition with the High Court requesting that the release be postponed, in order to allow relatives of individuals harmed by the terrorists to express their opinions.

The names of the terrorists to be freed were released Wednesday night, and on Thursday they are to be interviewed and checked by doctors. On Sunday, terrorists will be released to Palestinian Authority-controlled areas of Judea and Samaria via the Beitunia checkpoint, or to Gaza. Several of the terrorists who are to be released have been involved in attacks in which Jews were killed, Shurat HaDin said.

The petition by Shurat HaDin, filed by Attorney Nitzana Darshan-Leitner, says that now that Shalit has been released, there was time enough “to conduct this arrangement in a democratic manner and not keep information hidden. In a proper democracy citizens have the right to bring their concerns to the authorities in order to affect the decision.”

Darshan-Leitner said that even though the names of the terrorists to be released is now made public, obtaining it was not simple, and that many people who would like to be heard on the matter will not have the opportunity to make their concerns known by Sunday. “The rushing to complete this release makes us feel as if the government is 'getting away' with something. The government is not allowing an in-depth discussion of this release, as would be worthy of a democracy.”

In addition, the petition asks that the court refuse to allow the release of a number of terrorists who killed and injured U.S. citizens, in a terror attack on King George Street in 2002. The petition asks the court allow U.S. authorities the opportunity to extradite the terrorists, and Shurat HaDin has discussed the matter with U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, who is considering making an extradition request – a request that will be academic if the terrorists are released.

Earlier this week, French Ambassador to Israel Christophe Bigot paid a visit to Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, seeking Rabbi Yosef's support for the release of Salah Hamori, who planned to kill him in 2005. Hamori is a French citizen, and the French government has sought his release. Rabbi Yosef approved the terrorist's release in the second wave of those to be released in the deal to bring Shalit back to Israel.