“Keep thee far from a false matter; and the innocent and righteous slay thou not; for I will not justify the wicked.” (Exodus 23:7)
The Israeli Knesset announced it ratified its decision Saturday night to release the next group of 26 Palestinian prisoners in accordance with preconditions agreed upon before peace talks began in August. This decision came despite a recent wave of terror attacks and protests held outside the Prime Minister’s Jerusalem residence.
Back in July, the government agreed to a US-brokered deal in which Israel would release in four stages 104 Palestinian prisoners, most held for crimes committed before the 1993 Oslo Accords. In exchange, the Palestinian Authority agreed to return to the negotiating table. The first two releases took place in August and October. The third release is set to take place early this week.
The Israeli Prison Service released a list of prisoners to be set free. These are the men on the list, along with the crimes for which they were convicted, as published by The Times of Israel:
1. Muhammad Yusuf Adnan Elafandi, arrested May 13, 1992, for stabbing two youths in Jerusalem. After the attack, his life was saved by an Israeli woman who defended him from a lynch mob. He was convicted of attempted murder. The woman who saved his life, Bella Freund, was the subject of a song by the hip hop band Hadag Nahash, in collaboration with rocker Barry Sakharof.
2. Farid Ahmed Shahade, arrested February 16, 1985, for the murder of Yosef Farhan, a suspected collaborator with Israel, in Jaffa.
3-5. Yakoub Muhammad Ouda Ramadan, Afana Mustafa Ahmad Muhammad, and Da’agna Nufal Mahmad Mahmoud, arrested April 1, 1993. The three were convicted of stabbing Sara Sharon, 37, to death in Holon on January 20, 1993.
6-7. Abu al Rub Mustafa Mahmoud Faisal and Kamil Awad Ali Ahmad, convicted of murder in the killing of 20-year-old IDF soldier Yoram Cohen in a shootout in the West Bank town of Jenin. Ali Ahmad was also convicted of kidnapping, torturing and murdering 15 Palestinians suspected of collaborating with Israel. Faisal was convicted of manslaughter in four of those cases.
8. Damara Ibrahim Mustafa Bilal, arrested June 16, 1989, and convicted of murdering Steven Friedrich Rosenfeld, 48, a US-born immigrant to Israel. Damra and several others accosted Rosenfeld outside the West Bank settlement of Ariel, grabbed the knife he was carrying, and stabbed him to death with it. His body was found on the following day by a Palestinian shepherd.
9. Abu Mohsin Khaled Ibrahim Jamal, arrested April 10, 1991, and convicted of murder. Abu-Muhsan ambushed Shlomo Yahya, a 76-year-old gardener, in a public park in Moshav Kadima and stabbed him to death.
10. Tamimi Rushdi Muhammad Sa’id, convicted of kidnapping and murdering Hayim Mizrahi at a Palestinian-owned farm outside the settlement of Beit El, where Mizrahi lived, in 1993. Mizrahi had come to the farm to shop for eggs.
11. Silawi Khaled Kamel Osama, one of three Palestinians convicted in the murder of Motti Biton. Similar to Mizrahi, Biton was shot while he was shopping for groceries in a Palestinian-owned store. Afterwards his wife, who was in the car outside, fired at his attackers, who detonated a pipe bomb and fled. Biton was gravely wounded in the attack and died in an Israeli hospital three days later. Osama was also convicted of murder and manslaughter in the deaths of four Palestinians suspected of collaborating with the authorities.
12. Sawafta Sudqi Abdel Razeq Mouhlas, who stabbed Yosef Malka (Malkin) to death on December 29, 1990, during an attempt to rob his home in Haifa.
13. Barham Fawzi Mustafa Nasser, arrested December 20, 1993, for the murder of Morris (Moshe) Edri. Nasser, a former employee of Edri, 65, ambushed Edri and stabbed him in the back. After he was apprehended, he said he had carried out the murder to prove that he was worthy of joining Hamas.
14-16. Yusuf Ahmed Nu’aman Al-Shalvi, Mahmad Anis Aiman Jaradat, and Ahmad Yusuf Bilal Abu-Hassin, convicted of murdering multiple Palestinians suspected of collaborating with Israel.
17. Mahmad Naim Shawmra Yunis, convicted of murder in the death of Yossef Hayun, a police sapper who was killed while attempting to disarm a bomb in Moshav Shekef in June 1993.
18. Mahmud Muhammad Salman, arrested May 6, 1994, and convicted in the murder of Shai Shoker. Salman strangled Shoker with a shoelace outside Tira on February 2, 1994.
19. Ahmed Ibrahim Jamal Abu-Jamal, convicted of attempted murder. Abu-Jamal was slated for release in 2016.
20. Mahmoud Ibrahim Abu-Ali Faiz, convicted of murdering Ronny Levy.
21. Zaki Rami Barbakh Jawdat, convicted of murdering Yosef Zandani.
22. Mustafa Ahmed Khaled Jumaa, convicted of aggravated assault, up for release in 2014.
23. Abu Hadir Muhammad Yassin Yassin, convicted of murder. Yassin shot Yigal Shahaf, 24, in the head while Shahaf and his wife were walking through Jerusalem’s Old City toward the Western Wall. Shahaf died in hospital on the following day. The murder weapon had been bought from a Jewish Israeli. Yassin was slated for release in 2016.
24-25. Muammar Ata Mahmoud Mahmoud and Salah Khalil Ahmad Ibrahim, convicted of murdering Menahem Stern, a history professor at Hebrew University. Stern, 64, a winner of the prestigious Israel Prize, was stabbed to death while walking to work at the university’s Givat Ram campus on June 22, 1989. A monument in his memory figures in a scene from the prize-winning Israeli film “Footnote.” Ibrahim was also convicted in the murder of Eli Amsalem. In addition, the two murdered a Palestinian suspected of collaborating with Israel, Hassin Zaid.
26. Taqtuq Lutfi Halma Ibrahim, arrested March 3, 1989, and convicted of murder in the shooting of IDF soldier Binyamin Meisner, on February 24, 1989, in Nablus.
Dozens of Israelis, including family members of victims of the prisoners in question, protested outside Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s residence on Saturday. The group appears to have joined the personal protest of one victim’s family, members of which have been there for five days already.
Ortal Tamam, niece of victim Moshe Tamam, began the protest last week. “I’m sick of feeling like a stranger in my own country. Public servants who are supposed to represent me are not doing it,” she told ynetnews.com.
“We’ve come all the way to the entryway of the prime minister’s residence… it seems we will not be able to do more than that, seeing as recurring requests pleading ministers and the prime minister to meet with us have amounted to nothing. We want to send a clear message – the State is changing. We are crying out and will continue to be here, and the fact that people are here to support us is heartwarming.”
Meira Stern Glick, daughter of victim Professor Menachem Stern, said, “The release is causing great distress. I think it’s immoral. Murder is murder, and these people are murderers. There is a sense of great injustice – someone who killed in cold blood should be given a life sentence.”
She added, “I was in support of the Shalit deal. Then they had no other choice, because it was either to release prisoners or give up on the captive soldier. I’ll never forget how happy I was the day (Gilad Shalit) came home. But this time, it’s immoral, because there were other choices. The government chose that option out of political considerations. I just hope this release won’t be in vain.”
The remaining 22 terrorists, Arab-Israelis and residents of east Jerusalem in the deal are expected to be released in 2014.