Anger and heartache were on display outside the Defense Ministry in Tel Aviv on Monday, as scores of people gathered to protest the impending release of 26 Palestinian security prisoners this week.
Shouting “Don’t release murderers” and “You don’t make peace by releasing terrorists,” the protesters painted red handprints on placards and banners, and railed against the deal, which they argued would only bring further bloodshed.
Among those present was Bayit Yehudi MK Ayelet Shaked, who made a case for implementing the death penalty.
“What we need to do, the next step is to start a public protest in favor of the use of the death penalty in the military courts,” Shaked said. “Otherwise, even the murderers of the Fogel family, who slit the throats of children and killed a husband and wife, will be released in a few years.”
She was referring to the brutal March 2011 attack at the Itamar settlement in the northern West Bank, for which two Palestinians from the nearby village of Awarta were given life sentences.
Also present at the Monday afternoon protest was Gila Molcho, who clutched a framed picture of her older brother, Ian Feinberg.
In April 1993, the 30-year-old Feinberg, a father of three, was hacked to death by terrorists who broke into the office where the young attorney was working to help set up European- funded economic projects aimed at helping the Gaza Strip’s economy.
His killers could be among those released.
“How can letting these killers go free become the first step to peace?” Molcho said. “We’re sending a terrible message to our youths and to the Arabs – that our blood is worthless.”
Miriam Tubul, whose son, Lior, was killed with his friend Ronen Karamani in 1990 near Jerusalem, shouted at the park across from the Defense Ministry.
“My son was stabbed 24 times. Twenty-four times! These men received four life sentences. Why are they being released?” Tubul complained that the terrorists were being freed because the US had pressured Israel to do so.
“Do they release terrorists?” she said of the Americans.
“Why do we let them tell us what to do?” The crowd responded with boos.
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