Israel's Shin Bet security service has recommended to Prime Minister Ehud Barak that all prisoners identified with the Fatah organization and with other groups that are part of the Palestinian Authority be released as part of the negotiations with the PA, according to Israeli daily Ha’aretz Tuesday.
The paper said the recommendation includes prisoners convicted of murdering or wounding Israelis. Apart from isolated cases, Israel has so far refrained from releasing Palestinian prisoners "with Israeli blood on their hands" within the framework of the Oslo process.
The report added there is strong opposition in the political system, particularly on the right, to any such move. Most of the families that have suffered from terrorist acts are also adamantly opposed to the release of security prisoners of any kind.
The position of the Shin Bet, as presented to Barak, draws no distinction between the prisoners on the basis of their actions, but only on the basis of their organizational affiliation. While the Shin Bet recommends the release of all the Fatah prisoners, irrespective of what they were convicted of, it also believes that all Hamas and Islamic Jihad prisoners should remain incarcerated until they finish serving their prison terms.
The Shin Bet's approach has the support of other security bodies, said Ha’aretz, including the office of the coordinator of government activities in the territories, as well as the support of some IDF officers. It is also apparently backed by security cabinet ministers – Albawaba.com.
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