Freed Palestinian prisoner greets child_311.
(photo credit: Reuters)
In a High Court petition filed Thursday morning, the Israel Law Center (Shurat
HaDin) asked justices to delay the second stage of the Gilad Schalit
prisoner-exchange deal. A total of 550 Palestinian security prisoners are set to
be released on Sunday, according to a list published on the Prison Service
Thursday’s petition comes after the High Court decided not to
accede to requests by terror victims in October to interfere in the release of
1,027 Palestinian security prisoners as part of the first stage in the
government-brokered deal to free kidnapped soldier Schalit.
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victims had complained that the government had not given them sufficient notice
that terrorists convicted of murdering their family members were among those
scheduled for release, but the court said it would not delay the deal after the
state argued the timeline for the first stage was critical.
its petition the Law Center argued that as Schalit has now been returned safely
to Israel, the court must allow for a “full democratic and public process” to
take place and order the government to establish criteria determining which
security prisoners should be released.
According to the petition,
although Israel is committed to honor the Schalit deal, there is nothing to
prevent the government from delaying the second phase of prisoner releases in
order to establish such criteria.
“Schalit is free, there is no immediate
threat to life. It’s crucial that the democratic process is thoroughly played
out. The citizens victimized by these terrorists must be able to bring their
claims before the court,” said Law Center Director attorney Nitzana
“In a democratic state, all citizens who oppose the
government’s policy must be given adequate notice and an opportunity to be heard
by neutral judicial officers.”
The petition argues that the rights of
terror victims and their families could be harmed if they are not given
sufficient time to contest the release of specific prisoners, and
Darshan-Leitner noted that the Prison Service website published the list of
prisoners to be released on Wednesday, ahead of their release on
“It takes time for the families to be notified and the cases be
brought to court.
Not allowing an adequate opportunity is a travesty of
justice,” she said.
In addition to the Legal Center, terror victims
Michael Norzich and Dr. Alan Bauer also chose to be named on the petition.
Norzich’s brother Vadim was murdered by a Palestinian lynch mob in Ramallah in
2000. One of the Palestinians convicted of carrying out that murder, Abed Alaziz
Salaha, was released during the first phase of the Schalit deal.
US citizen living in Israel, was injured with his son Jonathan in a Fatah
suicide bombing on Jerusalem’s King George Street in 2002.
killed three and wounded 86 others. One of the men responsible for that bombing,
Fatah terrorist Darwish Ghazi Darwish Dahdar, is among those set to be released
on Sunday as part of the second phase.
In an interview with The Jerusalem
Post on Thursday, Bauer said that in line with strict US anti-terror legislation
– which stipulates that foreign terrorists suspected of harming US citizens
outside US soil can be subject to prosecution in the US – he and other terror
victims have informed US Attorney-General Eric Holder that several people
convicted of killing and harming Americans may have been freed without the
required public debate.
Bauer said he hoped the petition will “let Israel
know that it is not the only country affected by the prisoner
“Several people who carried out our attack are still free,” he
Meanwhile, French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe thanked Prime
Minister Binyamin Netanyahu Thursday for agreeing to release a French national
as part of the second stage of the Gilad Schalit exchange.
Hamouri, a recidivist Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine terrorist,
was convicted in 2005 for plotting the assassination of Shas spiritual leader
Rabbi Ovadia Yosef. Hamouri holds French citizenship.
President Sarkozy has been expressing the hope that Mr. Salah Hamouri would be
granted early release... France appreciates this gesture by the Israeli Prime
Minister and government,” Juppe said.