Israel to release second batch of Palestinian prisoners despite right-wing pressure

Published October 27th, 2013 - 04:55 GMT
Israel frees 26 Palestinian prisoners as part of peace negotiations with the Palestinians. [Photo by Reuters]
Israel frees 26 Palestinian prisoners as part of peace negotiations with the Palestinians. [Photo by Reuters]

A bill put forth by right-wing party Habayit Hayehud seeking to ban the release of Palestinian Prisoners was rejected by the government on Sunday.

The bill, sponsored by Habayit Hayehud party, urged Netanyahu not to approve any future releases as part of peace of negotiantions with the Palestinians. However, The ministerial committee dealing with the releases, including Netanyahu and Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, voted down the bill. 

In a meeting of Likud party ministers, Netanyahu said, "Promises must be kept. We have to honour government decisions even if it is difficult and unpleasant. We can't constantly change our stance." 

"We want to reach an accord with the Palestinians, primarily to ensure (Israel's) security," the hawkish Israeli Premier said. 

The planned release of 25 Palestinians will be the second of four stages after the cabinet approved in July the release of 104 Palestinians imprisoned for at least 20 years. 

"This government is advancing a diplomatic process, that is in Israel's national and security interests. The responsibility to act in accordance with these interests as well as the shared responsibility for decisions that were taken [by the government], is incumbent on every member of the government, even those who in retrospect are trying to shirk from them," Livni said.

The group is expected to meet later today to pproves the release, the names will be posted by Israel's Prison Services and there will be a 48 hour period before the prisoners are freed.

“Releasing terrorists in exchange for the dubious privilege of having Tzipi Livni meet with [Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb] Erekat is extremely serious,” the office of Habayit Hayehudi chairman Naftali Bennett said in a statement earlier Sunday.

“With all due respect, stopping the release of murderers is even more important than justifying Livni’s presence in the cabinet.”

 Habayit Hayehudi said it would appeal Legislative Ministerial's rejection, and hailed it as an irresponsible move by the government and all those involved to release terrorists and murderers


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