Palestinian terrorists should not be released from prison, MKs in the Knesset Interior Committee said Wednesday.
“A crazy situation is taking place in which terrorists enter prison with the understanding that it is only a matter of time until American pressure will lead to their release,” MK Moshe Feiglin (Likud Beytenu) said.
According to Feiglin, the US asked that Israel not release anyone who killed American citizens. He called for the government to reject the request.
MK Basel Ghattas (Balad) said the prisoner release is part of an agreement between the US and Israel and that bereaved families have a “ritual of pressuring the government,” sparking a heated argument with the committee chairwoman, Miri Regev (Likud Beytenu), and the families.
Following Regev’s objections to Ghattas’s statements, he called her a fascist who is unworthy of leading a committee and that “any democratic country would make you against the law because of racism.”
“I am for releasing Israeli terrorists but criticize killing innocent people. I am for unarmed battle for the liberation of the Palestinian people and creation of an independent Palestinian state,” Ghattas continued, before leaving the committee room.
Regev said Ghattas is Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s mouthpiece and that he represents terrorists.
“We will never agree to a Palestinian state in 1967 borders,” Regev stated.
Feiglin added that “Ghattas’s true face is revealed.”
The three MKs who remained in the room – Regev, Feiglin and David Tsur (Hatnua) – voted to call on Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu not to release Jewish or Arab security prisoners, but if Israeli Arabs are freed, then Jews should be freed as well.
“We freed terrorists three times and didn’t move forward in negotiations. There is still terror from Gaza, and Abbas does not recognize the State of Israel as the Jewish state. We need to stop negotiations,” the committee chairwoman said.
Regev also said Netanyahu should not connect the release of Israeli agent Jonathan Pollard to the release of Palestinian terrorists.
“We should teach the Americans what national honor means. They don’t release one spy, and we don’t need to release murderers,” Regev posited. “The comparison between freeing Pollard and freeing terrorists is not constructive. Pollard should have been released long ago.”
The committee meeting was originally called to discuss criteria for choosing which prisoners to release, but the Prime Minister’s Office refused to give information on the process, and the Prisons Service had yet to receive a list of who is set to be freed this weekend, but said it would include Israeli Arabs.
Regev criticized the PMO for “disrespecting the committee and the Knesset” and said she plans to propose a bill that will not allow the government to release security prisoners without authorization from the Knesset.
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