The Supreme Court Tuesday night rejected a last-ditch appeal to delay the release of 26 more terrorists after it accepted the government’s answer that it promised the United States that they would be freed in order to continue discussions between Palestinian Authority and Israeli negotiators.
The three-judge court panel had asked the government if the date of release could be delayed for a day or two until it could receive detailed answers to questions raised in the appeal by the Algamor Terror Victims Association and relatives of 25 of the terrorists’ victims.
The judges almost locked the prison cells after five of the murderers already had been freed to the Erez Crossing at the border with northern Gaza, waiting for the final go-ahead to be welcomed by in a jubilant celebration in Gaza. However, the government stated that the Obama’s obsession with “peace talks” simply cannot wait.
The court wanted to know if the government took into account the conclusions of the Shamgar Commission, which concluded last year that freeing terrorisst should be a decision made by the Defense Ministry and not the Prime Minister.
The judges also wanted clarifications on Almagor’s appeal that two of the terrorists carried out their attacks on Israelis after the signing of the Oslo Accords in 1993, while the government had said all of the terrorists to be released murdered Israelis before the Accords.
The government had a nifty answer, saying that, yes, the terrorists acted after Yasser Arafat signed on the dotted line but before the Accords were executed. If that reasoning were to be extended, it could be argued that the Oslo Accords never were carried out because the Palestinian Authority has yet to honor the agreement in full.
As for Almagor’s argument that the release of terrorists was “immoral” and “extremely unreasonable,” the court, as usual, said it does not involve itself with security decisions. That would be considered odd logic because the government stated that the decision was political.
But the Council of Sages in the Netanyahu government has learned from the American government to think that a politically incorrect decision endangers national security.
A delay in releasing the terrorists would have caused a logistical nightmare because of the transfer of terrorists to the Erez Crossing, where they will cross into Gaza during the night.
The Shamgar Commission, which Almagor cited in its appeal, discussed the issue of freeing terrorists in return for hostages and missing soldiers.
This time around, the decision to free them is clearly a political act and is not being made to save the life of anyone.
Almagor argued that it actually will jeopardize the lives of Israelis in light of the recent escalation of terror.
The court rejected the argument with the convenient reasoning that investigations still are being carried out concerning the recent murders and attempted murders.
The government has stated its case that releasing this batch of prisoners will not cause harm to Israelis because the terrorists are old.
That does not take into account that freeing them gives a green light to younger terrorists to attack, knowing that they also will be freed from jail, where during their jail time they can received a healthy salary from the Palestinian Authority, the same Palestinian Authority that is going through the motions of peace talks at the discussion table with Israel.
About the Author: Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu is a graduate in journalism and economics from The George Washington University. He has worked as a cub reporter in rural Virginia and as senior copy editor for major Canadian metropolitan dailies. Tzvi wrote for Arutz Sheva for several years before joining the Jewish Press.
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