Names revealed in 2nd phase of Schalit deal

Israel to free 550 prisoners Sunday; most on list were set to be released within next year; Hamas denies it received list prior to publication.

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December 15, 2011 00:47
1 minute read.
Freed Palestinian prisoners on bus

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 Court.

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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 prisoners.”

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.

The 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.

He said Israel’s commitment to the Egyptians, who mediated the Schalit deal, was that Israel would release security prisoners, and not merely “petty thieves.”

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.


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