State asks High Court to reject Schalit deal petitions

Gov't says deal to release 1,027 prisoners in exchange for soldier was reached through diplomatic negotiations, solely a political matter; Noam Schalit scheduled to respond to petitions from terror victims' families.

Supreme Court 311 (photo credit: REUTERS)
Supreme Court 311
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The State on Monday responded to petitions lodged against the release of 477 Palestinian prisoners in exchange for kidnapped soldier Gilad Schalit at the High Court of Justice on Monday, saying the swap was strictly a political matter to be carried out by the government.
"The court has avoided, time after time, from interfering with petitions against releasing prisoners as the result of political negotiations," the State said.
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"The decision was made after authorized professionals made a detailed examination of the request during negotiations," the State said.
Noam Schalit was also scheduled to respond to the petitions at the High Court on Monday.
"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 on Sunday.
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.
The Israel Prisons Service (IPS) on early Sunday morning published the list (Excel sheet) 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 prisoners.
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.
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