The attorneys of several Israeli Arab detainees informed the Israeli State Attorney’s Office and Justice Ministry on Wednesday that their clients refuse to be included in a prisoner release deal with Hamas.
On Monday, Israel’s Prime Minister’s Office released a list of 50 female prisoners in Israeli jails that would be added to the 150 prisoners slated for release as part of a prisoner-exchange deal with Hamas.
Of those 50, 22 were Israeli Arabs arrested after Oct. 7 for online incitement in support of the terror group and its surprise attack on Israel, in which 1,200 Israelis, mostly civilians, were killed and 240 were taken hostage.
The Israeli decision sparked opposition on Tuesday from the Ra’am and Hadash-Ta’al parties, along with the Arab Higher Monitoring Committee, an unofficial group comprising Israeli Arab Knesset members and local Arab council heads.
They argued that including Israeli Arabs in a deal with Hamas is undesirable as it gives the Gaza-based terror group a role within Israel’s Arab population.
“It is very serious that the government gives Hamas ownership over Israeli Arab citizens in order to include them in transactions of this type,” said Arab political figures, according to Channel 12.
The Hadash Party also expressed fear that once released the prisoners would face retribution from Jewish extremists.
Hamas has agreed to release additional hostages per day to extend the temporary ceasefire.
Israel agreed to release three jailed Arab terrorists for each Israeli hostage as part of the deal, which also includes the entry of humanitarian aid and fuel into the Strip.
Approximately 155 Israelis and foreigners are still being held in Gaza, including Kfir Bibas, who was 9 months old when he was taken hostage by Hamas along with his parents and 4-year-old brother from Kibbutz Nir Oz on Oct. 7.
At least 1,200 people were killed in Hamas’s attacks on Israeli communities near the Gaza border on Oct. 7. Another 240 men, women, children and soldiers were taken back to Gaza as hostages. Some people remain unaccounted for as Israeli authorities continue to identify bodies and search for human remains.