The Israel Prison Service publicized the names late Sunday of the 26
Palestinians to be released from Israeli jails, the second batch of
pre-Oslo inmates convicted of terrorism who are to be freed as part of
the ongoing peace negotiations between Jerusalem and the Palestinian
Earlier on Sunday, a ministerial committee headed by
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu approved a list of the prisoners to be
released in the second of a four-stage process by which 104 Palestinian
prisoners will be sent to the Palestinian Authority as a measure for
resuming peace talks.
In the first stage of the release this past August, 26 Palestinians were freed.
issue of prisoner releases is a politically sensitive one for Israel,
where the bereaved kin enlist public opinion to pressure the government
against freeing Palestinians who have committed violent crimes against
Israelis, including murder.
All of the 26 prisoners on the IPS
list were either convicted of murder or attempted murder. Among the most
notable cases is Damouni Saad Mohammed Ahmed, who was convicted of
involvement in the brutal lynch of IDF reservist Amnon Pomerantz in the
Gaza Strip in 1990.
Another Palestinian set to be freed is
Massoud Issa Rajib Amer, a member of the Popular Front for the
Liberation of Palestine who in 1993 was convicted of brutally hacking to
death Ian Feinberg, a young lawyer who spent time in Gaza cultivating
ties to the local Palestinian community while trying to promote economic
Amer was also convicted of killing three Palestinians suspected of collaborating with Israel.
will also release Tukeman Yusef Suleiman Mahmed, Abu Hanana Zakariya
Udia Usama, and Abdel-Aziz Said Kassam Ahmed, three men involved in the
1992 shooting death of Moshe Biton. Biton was shot and killed after
entering a convenience store, and his wife was shot after trying to tend
Samarin Mustafa Kalib Asrar and Kra'an Azat Musa Musa,
the two Fatah terrorists who abducted and murdered Israeli soldier Tzvi
Klein in the West Bank in 1992 are also scheduled to be released this
Abu-Dahila Hasan Atik Sharif, a Fatah operative who was
sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder of Avi Osher, his Israeli
employer at the Jordan Valley farm he owned, in 1991, is also among
those to be freed this week.
Gnimat Amar Mahmad Mustafa and
Gnimat Mahmoud Mahmad Ziad, two Palestinian men convicted in the murder
of Meir Ben-Yair and Michal Cohen while they sat in a car in Judean
foothills in 1985 are also set to be freed.
The two Palestinians
convicted of killing Yoself Eliyahu and Leah Elmakayes are also among
the 26 names announced by the IPS late Sunday. Yosef Mahmad Haza Haza
and Beni-Hasan Abdalla Mahmud Otman were serving life sentences for the
murder of Eliyahu and Elmakayes, two hikers trekking across a forest in
the Gilboa Mountains.
Asor Masbach Khalil Mahmad, who was serving
a 30-year jail term for the murder of Israeli taxi driver David Kaspi
in 1985, will also go free this week, the IPS announced.
Raba Nimr Jabril Issa, the Palestinian man convicted of killing Revital
Seri and Ron Levy while they were hiking in 1984, is also on the list of
prisoners scheduled to be released this week.
Mahmud Mahmed was a young Fatah operative who was given a life term in
prison for the torture and murder of three Palestinians suspected of
collaborating with Israel in 1990. He, too, will be released this week.