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Wednesday, 18 July 2007

Why is the Israeli government releasing any Palestinian Prisoners?

Rehavam Zeevi, Israeli Tourism Minister, was shot by four
gunmen in the Jersusalem Hyatt hotel in October 2001

Israel 'to free leader of terror group that killed minister'

Israeli Cabinet ministers today approved a list of 256 Palestinian prisoners slated to be released this week in a gesture of support for Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian President, said to include the No 2 in the radical PFLP group.

The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine - a militant PLO faction listed as a terrorist organisation by the United States and European Union - claimed responsibility in 2001 for the assassination of Rehavam Zeevi, the right-wing Israeli Tourism Minister.

The names of the prisoners to be released have not been announced, but Palestinian sources said that they would include Abdelrahim Malluh, deputy leader of the PFLP. "“President Abbas has told the Malluh family that he will be freed,” Khalida Jarar, a PFLP official, told AFP.

David Baker, an official in the office of Ehud Olmert, the Israeli Prime Minister, said that a ministerial committee approved the release by seven votes to two. The list is to be published later today, giving Israelis 48 hours to file legal challenges before the prisoners, including six women, are released on Friday.

According to Mr Baker's statement, "there is no blood on their hands" - meaning that none has been directly involved in attacks on Israelis.

But Mr Malluh's inclusion on the list, giving his senior rank in the PFLP, is likely to prove controversial. Zeevi was shot by four gunmen in the Jersusalem Hyatt hotel in October 2001 in a what was said to be a reprisal for the assassination two months earlier of Abu Ali Mustafa, the PFLP leader.

Malluh was arrested in 2002 and sentenced in 2004 to nine years by an Israeli military tribunal for belonging to a terrorist organisation. The PFLP leader Ahmed Saadat remains in Israeli custody, although he has not been tried.

Israel pledged to release the prisoners as a "goodwill gesture" to Mr Abbas to help shore up his authority after Hamas gunmen routed the forces of his Fatah movement as they took over the Gaza strip last month. Eighty-five per cent of those to be released are Fatah members; none is from Hamas.

But the Palestinian minister for prisoner affairs, Ashraf al-Ajrami, said that the release of 250 out of more than 10,000 Palestinians in Israeli jails was not enough.
"Israel insists on releasing those who have limited sentences," Mr al-Ajrami said. "We want a release of prisoners who received long sentences."

Mr Bagel: I can't believe what I'm seeing? Why, why would you realease prisoners? To reward what? Name one thing the Palestinains have done that justifies a gesture such as this?

Why are we making a gesture of support for Mahmoud Abbas, what has he done?
Why does Israel insist on making first 'gestures', why does Israel insist on weakening its negotiating position? I can't understand why we allow the government to do this?

It has never lead to anything positive for the Jewish state.

There should be absolutely no prisoner releases until Gilad Shalit is released. To even consider releasing any prisoners simply compromises the position Israel starts from in trying to get Gilad Shalit's release.

Why does the Israeli government never learn?

I'm flabbergasted at the ineptness of this Government.

Times online: Israel 'to free leader of terror group that killed minister'