Freed Palestinian prisoners on bus 260.
(photo credit: REUTERS/Ahmed Jadallah)
Israel will honor its commitments to the Egyptians and release 550 Palestinian
security prisoners Sunday in the second stage of the Gilad Schalit prisoner
swap, though none of those released will be Hamas-affiliated, a government
official said Wednesday.
The official spoke just hours before the Justice
Ministry published a list of those prisoners’ names on the Prisons Service
website, giving 48 hours for the release to be appealed to the Supreme
Polls show overwhelming support for Schalit deal
The Schalit deal: 1,027 prisoners to be freed in 2 stages
Contrary to a senior government official’s comments as recently as
a week ago that Israel would only release petty criminals, the country will in
fact be releasing prisoners categorized as “light security
Among those to be freed are rock-throwers, as well as some
who fired shots at Israelis but missed their mark. The prisoners will be
informed of their release Thursday morning.
According to Israel Radio,
one of the prisoners is Salah Hamuri, who was jailed in 2005 for plotting to
kill Rabbi Ovadia Yosef.
“None of those being released have blood on
their hands,” one government official said, adding that in some cases it wasn’t
because they hadn’t tried, but because they hadn’t succeeded.
official said the vast majority of those set to be released were from Fatah,
with a few from other smaller organizations, but not from Hamas.
Israel’s commitment to the Egyptians, who mediated the Schalit deal, was that
Israel would release security prisoners, and not merely “petty
Under the Egyptian-mediated prisoner swap in October that led
to Schalit’s release, Israel released 477 “heavy” security prisoners and
terrorists who were responsible for the murders of hundreds of Israelis, and
whose names Israel and Hamas agreed upon in the first stage of the deal. Another
550 prisoners, completely of Israel’s choosing, were to be released in the
second stage by December 18.Yaakov Lappin contributed to this report.