IDF appeals court's decision to release Hamas legislators

The IDF Prosecutor's Office filed an appeal on Thursday against a military court decision earlier this week to release on bail 18 Hamas ministers and lawmakers under indictment for membership in a terrorist organization. The court decided to postpone the release of the Palestinian Authority legislators and to hold a hearing on the appeal Monday. On Tuesday, Military Judge Maj. Ronen Atzmon ordered the release on bail of the 18 while voicing criticism of their continued detainment. Among the 18 were Palestinian Legislative Council Speaker Dr. Aziz Dweck, PA Religion Minister Na'af Rajoub, PA Labor Minister Muhammad Barghouti, PA Jerusalem Affairs Minister Khaled Abu Arfa and orange-bearded PLC member Muhammad Abu Tir. In his decision, the military judge questioned the timing of the arrests, noting that Israel knew that the suspects - who were indicted last week for membership in a terrorist organization - were associated with Hamas before the elections, but turned a blind eye and allowed them to be elected.