Israeli Justice Ministry Official: “I Cannot Tell You That None Of The 250 Prisoners Who Will Be Released Will Return To Terror”
July 20, 2007

17% released Palestinian prisoners
return to terrorism

New York – The head of the Justice Ministry’s Pardons Department, Emmy Palmor, said this week that about 17% of Palestinian prisoners convicted on terror-related offenses who had been freed by Israel later returned to terror activities and conceded “I cannot tell you that none of the 250 prisoners who will be released on Friday will return to terror.” The release of the 250 Fatah members by the Olmert government today has been previously criticized by the Zionist Organization of America (ZOA).

The Olmert government has emphasized repeatedly that that those being released do not have “blood on their hands,” the usual term to denote prisoners who did not personally participate in terrorist attacks that claimed the lives of innocent Israeli civilians. In fact, prisoners in that category have included those who recruited, trained and dispatched suicide bombers. The Almagor Terror Victims Association, which had petitioned the High Court of Justice to delay the release, said that 179 Israelis have been killed over the last seven years by Palestinians freed in previous deals ( Jerusalem Post, July 18).

Previous mass releases of Palestinian Arab terrorists, in addition to encouraging further kidnappings for the purpose of wresting still more terrorists from Israeli jails, has been shown to lead to the murder of more Jews by released terrorists. A 2006 detailed report issued by the ATVA shows that between the years 1993-1999, Israel released 6,912 terrorists within the context of “confidence building measures” and prisoner deals. Of that number, 854 (14%) were arrested subsequently for lethal terrorists acts which claimed he lives of 123 Israelis. The ATVA report concluded, “The mass killing due to these attacks included … a huge number of victims with disabilities due to the attack and many other victims. In all the previous death-bargains, the overwhelming majority of those released returned to terrorist activities, at the cost of a huge destruction of life.”

ATVA Direct Meri Indor said today, “Olmert just threw out the number 250 … and then told the security services to deal with finding the right ones. And then when they came up with a list, Olmert behaved like a gangster and said, ‘That would be insulting to Abu Mazen. I need bigger fish!’ And so they gave him bigger fish — people who placed bombs, who used to be sentenced to 20 years and now are sentenced to only 10, and now they got out after 3-4 years, just because they were lucky and the bomb didn’t kill anyone but only damaged the car. And they included attempted murderers, and those who fired shots and missed … We have 196 families whose loved ones were murdered by terrorists who were once in prison. The lesson is simply not learned, and we see that Olmert’s decisions are made hastily, not only in last summer’s war, but here as well” ( Israel National News, July 20).

ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said, “The ZOA has consistently opposed the release of Palestinian Arab prisoners by Israel, even in return for Israelis kidnapped by terrorists, which is not the case here. Rather, it is simply a further unilateral concession to Mahmoud Abbas and his unreformed terrorist regime. If Abbas is a moderate, why would he want terrorists released who can only harm his alleged efforts to bring about peace? A genuine moderate seeking peace and opposed to terror would be working to see that terrorists are locked up and that those who have been jailed already stay that way.

“As the ATVA report has shown, such terrorist releases have been proved in the past to result in further massive loss of innocent Jewish life. It is clear that even prisoners who can be described as ‘not having blood on their hands’ often fall into that category simply because their terror plans failed, or because others pulled the trigger or detonated the bomb. In the present case, on current statistical evidence available, it is safe to say that about 50 of the 255 terrorists released today will return to committing acts of terror. Despite long Israeli experience of this phenomenon and all the warnings, the Olmert government has acted in a way that will bring further avoidable tragedy to innocent Israelis.”

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