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Terror victims’ NGO to publish terrorist database
By MELANIE LIDMAN
10/31/2011
Exclusive: Online list will be first centralized archive; Almagor hopes website will deter future prisoner swaps.
 
The Almagor Victims of Terror Association plans to launch an online database of the terrorists with descriptions of their crimes in an effort to prevent future prisoner swaps, The Jerusalem Post has learned.

The head of Almagor, Meir Indor, believes by connecting the names of the terrorists to the specific terror attacks they committed, the public will be less likely to support prisoner swaps in the future.

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“We are taking the law into our own hands so that terror victims can get updates on the terrorists who are responsible for specific attacks,” said Indor.

The database, called “Justice for Terror Victims,” will collect information that is available to the public, such as arrests and court transcripts, and compile it in a searchable database.

The Foreign Ministry and some private bloggers have partial lists, but this is the first initiative to have a comprehensive center of information.

More than a dozen volunteers working around the clock in shifts of three have already compiled full entries for 270 terrorists released as part of the Gilad Schalit deal.

It will be uploaded later this week onto the organization’s website, al-magor.com.

The prisoner list released ahead of the Schalit swap by the Prisons Service had dry descriptions for each of those released such as “involvement in unknown terror organization” and “assisted in murder.”

Indor believes that more specific descriptions, such as “the driver who brought the suicide bomber to Sbarro,” will resonate with the public on a deeper level and encourage more of an outcry against future swaps, which was fairly muted in the Schalit deal.

“Personalization works,” said Indor, noting that one reason the Schalit campaign was so successful was that it created an image of Schalit the average Israeli could relate to as a son and a soldier.

He added that the database, which will start with the terrorists released as part of the Schalit swap, will be updated if there are future swaps or if a terrorist is rearrested for committing similar crimes.

Indor said there was an incident during the Schalit affair when the media, using unauthorized lists from Arab media, incorrectly reported the planned release of some terrorists, creating unneeded turmoil for the families of the victims. A centralized database could minimize such occurrences in the future.

“The worst is to sit and not know. Terror victims want to know if their murderer got out or not,” said Indor.

He acknowledged that funds were a serious obstacle for keeping an updated database, or for translating the database into English.

Part of Almagor’s strategy is to inspire public pressure both on the government not to release terrorists, as well as other governments to issue international arrest warrants through Interpol for released terrorists.

Almagor was founded in 1986 as a response to the “Jibril Deal,” when 1,150 terrorists were released in exchange for three soldiers kidnapped during the First Lebanon War.
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