“Today is a day of joy to our people, our families and our hero prisoners who’ve achieved freedom,” Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas declared Monday night as he personally greeted 18 terrorists released by Israel.
Abbas and other senior PA officials waited through the night to meet the men at his headquarters in Ramallah. He shook the hands of each of the terrorists, whose arrival was marked by greeted by crowds of Palestinians in a celebratory mood.
“We promise,” Abbas added, “that this is not the last time that prisoners will be released.”
The PA head, who is currently engaged in peace talks with Israel, also declared that “there will be no final agreement with Israel until all prisoners are released.”
The 18 terrorists who arrived in Ramallah are part of a group of 26 terrorists released by Israel in the third of four scheduled releases of a total of 104 Palestinians jailed for killing Israeli citizens.
Three of the 26 were transferred to Gaza. The remaining five were taken to eastern Jerusalem, where they reside, though they are not Israeli Arab citizens.
The release was made possible after the Israeli Supreme Court rejected a last minute petition filed by activists and families whose loved ones were killed in the terror attacks perpetrated by the prisoners set to be released.
As in previous appeals before terrorist releases, the Court said “there is no cause for us to intervene in such processes, as they are political decisions.”
The appeal also noted that five of the terrorists were to be released to their homes in Jerusalem, but the Court said that was not sufficient grounds to prevent the releases.
Nearly 200 bereaved family members of Israeli victims of terrorist attacks held a march through Jerusalem on Monday to protest the release.
The march began at Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s residence in Jerusalem and ended at the Western Wall.
Secretary of State John Kerry expressed his “appreciation” of Israel’s agreeing to go ahead with the release.
“The Israeli government’s commitment to release Palestinian prisoners helped enable the start…and the continuation of the final status negotiations, and we believe this is a positive step forward in the overall process,” said State Department deputy spokeswoman Marie Harf.
The released prisoners committed their terrorist acts before the implementation of the Oslo Accords and have served at least 19 years in an Israeli prison, according to a statement released Saturday night by the Prime Minister’s Office.
“If any of those to be released resume hostile activity they will be returned to serve the remainder of their sentences,” the statement said.
(JTA, INN, JNS, Jewish Press staff)
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The Palestinian prisoners freed by Israel are:
1. Alafandi Mahmad Yusef Adnan, arrested on May 13, 1992 for attempted murder.
2. Shahada Farid Shahada Ahmad, arrested on February 16, 1985 for the murder of Yosef Farhan.
3. Yakoub Muhammad Ouda Ramadan, arrested on April 1, 1993 for the murder of Sara Sharon, 38. The mother of seven was stabbed in Holon on January 20, 1993.
4. Afana Mustafa Ahmad Muhammad, also arrested on April 1, 1993 for the murder of Sara Sharon.
5. Abu al Rub Mustafa Mahmoud Faisal, arrested on September 25, 1991 for the fatal shooting a soldier. He also killed several Palestinian civilians suspected of being collaborators.
6. Kamil Awad Ali Ahmad, arrested September 29, 1993 for participation in a cell that committed a shooting attack and murdered a soldier. He also took part in the abduction, torture, and murder of 15 Palestinians suspected of collaborating with authorities.
7. Damara Ibrahim Mustafa Bilal, arrested on June 6, 1989 for the murder of Frederick Rosenfeld, 48, a New York native, was stabbed while hiking near Ariel.
8. Abu Mohsin Khaled Ibrahim Jamal, arrested for the October 4, 1991 for the murder of gardener Shlomo Yehiya, 76, a father of six who was stabbed to death.
9. Tamimi Rushdi Muhammad Sa’id, arrested on November 9, 1993 for the murder of Chaim Mizrahi, 30, who was killed while buying eggs outside the Beit El settlement.
10. Silawi Khaled Kamel Osama, arrested on February 16, 1993 for participating in the violent interrogation of Palestinians suspected of collaborating with authorities. He committed three murders and was involved in murdering another victim and injuring his wife.
11. Sawafta Sudqi Abdel Razeq Mouhlas, arrested March 9, 1991 for the murder of a Jewish civilian he knew.
12. Barham Fawzi Mustafa Nasser, arrested on December 20, 1993 after he stabbed to death his employer, Morris Edri.
13. Al Shalabi Yusef Ahmad Nawaman, arrested on May 13, 1992 for organizing and committing three murders.
14. Jaradat Mahmad Anis Ayman, arrested March 24, 1993 for murdering two civilians and abducting and killing two other civilians suspected of collaborating with authorities.
15. Shouamra Yunis Mahmad Naim, arrested in 1995 for the murder of Yosi Hayun.
16. Mahmoud Mahmad Suleiman, arrested in 1994 for the murder of Shai Shoker.
17. Abu Jamal Ahmed Ibrahim Jamal, arrested in 1994 for attempted murder.
18. Abu Ali Faiz Mahmoud Ibrahim, arrested in 1994 for the murder of Ronnie Levy.
19. Barbach Judat Rami, arrested October 7, 1994 for murdering 28-year-old Yosef Zandani.
20. Khalef Juma’a Mustafa Ahmad, arrested November 23, 1992 for stabbing a civilian in the back and setting vehicles and buildings on fire on a number of occasions.
21. Abu Hasin Ahmad Yusef Bilal, arrested December 20, 1988. While serving his sentence for blocking roads and setting a vehicle on fire, he murdered a fellow prisoner he suspected of collaborating with authorities.
22. Abu Hadir Muhammad Yassin Yassin, arrested January 1, 1988 after he stabbed two civilians. He also attempted to murder another civilian and was in possession of four hand grenades.
23. Da’agna Nufal Mahmad Mahmoud, arrested March 16, 1993 for planning and encouraging his friends to murder a civilian woman.
24. Salah Khalil Ahmad Ibrahim, arrested July 9, 1992 for fatally stabbing a Jewish civilian in the Valley of the Cross in Jerusalem. He also broke into the home of a Jewish civilian and stabbed and strangled him. Also, he and an accomplice stabbed to death a Palestinian suspected of being a collaborator.
25. Muammar Ata Mahmoud Mahmoud, arrested February 24, 1992 for stabbing to death a Jewish civilian in the Valley of the Cross in Jerusalem. Also attempted to kill two Jewish civilians in their homes.
26. Taqtuq Lutfi Halma Ibrahim, arrested March 3, 1989 for participating in the murder of a soldier, Binyamin Meisner, in Shechem (Nablus).