Israel released 550 Palestinian security prisoners Sunday in the second and final phase of the Gilad Schalit exchange deal with Hamas. Most were imprisoned for throwing Molotov cocktails and stones, and some 400 have finished two-thirds of their sentences. Not all were as innocent though Salah Hamouri, who plotted to murder Shas spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, and Taltal Na’asan, a senior Force 17 member who confessed to taking part in shooting attacks and planning to plant bombs near Ramallah are on the list of released prisoners. Also on the list was Darwis Dadar, a Tanzim terrorist who participated in a Jerusalem suicide bombing that claimed the lives of three Israelis in 2002.
The 477 prisoners freed in the first round included dozens of militants serving life sentences for involvement in bus bombings and other deadly attacks on Israeli civilians that killed hundreds. Their release set off celebrations in the Palestinian territories, particularly Hamas’ Gaza stronghold. Some of the chestnuts released were Abu Sharakh, One of the organizers of the attack on bus No. 37 in Haifa in 2002 and other attacks (17 killed, more than 50 wounded), al-Hashlimun, Involved in the planning of the double attack in Beersheba in 2004 (17 killed), which killed 16 people., al-Nasser-Yataima, convicted of planning the Passover massacre (2002) in which 30 civilians were killed and 140 were wounded, and Anajas, Walid Abd al-Aziz Abd al-Hadi, took part in the execution of the Café Moment bombing in 2002 (11 killed, 54 wounded – 11 of them seriously), the Hebrew University bombing in 2002 (9 killed, more than 100 injured) and the Rishon LeZion bombing in 2002 (16 killed, more than 60 injured – 20 of them seriously). Originally sentenced to 26 consecutive life sentences. Badran, Husam Atif Al the former head of Hamas’ military wing in the West Bank, who orchestrated the the 2001 Dolphinarium discotheque suicide bombing, 2001 Sbarro restaurant suicide bombing (15 killed, more than 100 injured) and in the 2002 Passover massacre. The military wing of Hamas threatened Sunday evening to kidnap more soldiers to release the rest of the Palestinian prisoners from Israeli jails. “This achievement will not be the end of the story… We will continue to work for the prisoners at whatever cost,” said spokesman for the military wing of Hamas, Abu Ovadia.
At what point does Israel declare enough is enough and institute the death penalty for terrorism?
Jeff Treesh is @IranAware