According to Hamas sources, including the terrorist organization’s website, Israel has agreed to release the top 15 officials on the list, including Marwan Barghouti and Ahmed Sa’adat. The government of Prime Minister Netanyahu, and his predecessors, Ehud Olmert and Ariel Sharon, stated they would not release terrorists the likes of the two mentioned. Sa’adat is a senior official in the PFLP (Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine) and played a role in the assassination of Israeli Minister of Tourism Rechavam Ze’ev HY”D.
Barghouti is serving five life sentences for his actions during the Second Intifada, both a master terrorist and a commander, heading the Tanzim military faction of Fatah, the party aligned with Israel’s peace partner, PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen).
While there is an air of cautious optimism in the Shalit home, many Israelis are lamenting the decision, reminding the prime minister that for years he stated emphatically that Barghouti and Sa’adat would never be released, but it is now known that this is another promise that has been broken.
In Gaza, the mood is one of jubilation and victory, with tens of thousands of residents reportedly dancing over the news that loved ones will be coming home. For Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, the deal was a badly needed success, to show his people that he is a leader who delivers the goods as promised.
Tzfat Chief Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu spoke with Kol Chai Radio, stating according to Halacha, this is prohibited, stating this is not pidyon shvuyim, since the Torah prohibits the release of murderers. Rabbi Eliyahu added that factual data based on previous release shows about one-third will return to their ways, and this is imply prohibited since Halacha does not permit us to decide if one’s blood is redder than another, explaining the Gemara.
(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)