Hours before 26 Palestinian security prisoners were slated to exit Ayalon Prison in Ramle for the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, around 20 people protested outside the prison, calling for Israel to release Jewish prisoners held for nationalist attacks on Arabs.The protesters – most of whom came on a bus and by private car from the northern West Bank – included relatives of Ami Popper, who on May 20, 1990, gunned down seven unarmed Palestinian men from the Gaza Strip, and wounded 11 others waiting at a bus stop in Rishon Lezion.Popper’s brother Tzvi said his family is calling for “equality, an end to discrimination. They are talking about releasing 104 terrorists for peace but what about the 10 Jewish prisoners? The only difference is we know that we [Jewish prisoners] won’t return to terror, they [Palestinian prisoners] will.” Amihai Zeliger, brother of Shlomo Dvir, a member of the “Bat Ayin Underground” terrorist group in Judea, also attended the protest, saying if you’re going to release these murderers, then its only fair that you also release our brothers, who there is no chance and its been proven that they won’t return to what they did.“Use a bit of logic, and Jewish sympathy and make this happen.”Dvir was sentenced in 2003 to 15 years for placing a bomb outside a girls’ school in east Jerusalem, not long after he was arrested at the scene of the crime in April 2002.
The protest was a marked contrast to the consensus support in Palestinian society for the release of convicted murderers. There were at most a couple dozen people, mainly from the West Bank, including far-right activist Baruch Marzel, as well as members of the right-wing Honenu organization. As much as half of the protesters were young children, brought by their parents to take part in the protest. There were no political leaders or parliamentarians present at the protest.