High Court of Justice on Monday concluded a hearing on
petitions filed by families of terror victims against the release of
1,027 Palestinian prisoners in exchange for Gilad Schalit. A
written decision was expected to be published later Monday evening.
Presiding over the
discussion, Supreme Court President Dorit Beinisch said the deal meant
"the cancellation of legal decisions which established that these people
should be behind bars."
"The moral and legal difficulty is laid
out before us...we are sitting among our own people. There is no need to
explain the painful history and the very difficult dilemmas we face,"
Beinisch told the court.
Speaking after the hearing, Noam
addressed the families of terror victims, acknowledging the
difficulty of the prisoner exchange deal.
Defense Ministry green lights prisoner transfer
Gilad Schalit's release: The stage-by-stage timeline
"We are aware of the
fact that this is a difficult deal," Schalit said after the hearing. "We would be happy if
Gilad was released in a more comfortable deal," Schalit added.
the captive soldier's father also slammed government policies that he
blamed for the length of Gilad's captivity. "The State of Israel,
two governments in the past five-and-a-half years, didn't succeed in
creating any leverage to press for the release of my son," he said.
state on Monday asked the court to reject the petitions, saying the
swap was strictly a political matter to be carried out by the
"The court has refused, time after time, to interfere
with the release of prisoners as part of a deal reached through
political negotiations," the state said.
"The decision was made
after authorized professionals made a detailed examination of the
request during negotiations," the state said.
"We sympathize with
the pain of the families of the terror victims, but ask that the court
not make any change, however small, to the deal made by the government,"
Schalit's parents, Noam and Aviva, wrote to the justices.
"Any delay, however small, will put Gilad's life in danger," the Schalits added.
The first petition was filed by the Almagor Terror Victims Association
on behalf of several bereaved family members of people killed in terror
attacks carried out by the prisoners due to be released.
The petition asks the court to delay the prisoner releases to allow
bereaved families more time to examine the list of prisoners and to
organize a response.
"Bereaved families are calling me all the time, they're asking me if the
terrorists who murdered their family members are on the list of
prisoners or not," Almagor CEO Meir Indor told The Jerusalem Post
The petitioners include Yitzhak Maoz, whose daughter was murdered in the
2001 Sbarro bombing in Jerusalem; Hovav Nuriel, whose father Sasson
Nuriel was murdered by a Hamas terror cell in 2005; the Bloom family,
who were injured by a petrol bomb; Ron Karmal whose daughter was
murdered in a bus bombing in Haifa; and Rabbi Shmuel Weiss, whose son
died fighting terrorists.
Monday, the Petah Tikva Magistrate's Court rejected a petition to issue
an injunction preventing three terrorists expected to be released as
part of the Schalit deal from leaving the country. The petition was
filed by the parents of Kinneret Mendel, who was killed six years ago by
the three terrorists.
The Israel Prisons Service (IPS) on early Sunday morning published the
list of the Palestinian prisoners slated for release in
the first stage of the exchange deal. According to Israeli law, the
government must provide citizens 48 hours to appeal the release of the
The first group of 477 prisoners, whose names were published Sunday, are
expected to be released on Tuesday at the same time that Hamas hands
over Schalit. The list includes 450 males and 27 females.