Israel’s Supreme Court on Tuesday dismissed a petition opposing the release of 26 Palestinian prisoners, clearing the final hurdle for the goodwill gesture on the eve of second round of peace talks between the Jewish nation and Palestinian Authority.
In an official statement on Tuesday, Supreme Court president Asher Grunis wrote, “There is no dispute that the issue at hand is difficult and sensitive. Our hearts go out to the families of the terror victims.”
The Supreme Court deliberated on the petition on Sunday, a few hours before the ministerial committee finalised the list of 26 prisoners to be released as part of Israel’s goodwill gesture to the Palestinians ahead of the resumption of peace talks.
The judges dismissed the petitioners’ claim that the decision to release terrorists is unreasonable and incompatible with the policies determined by previous Israeli governments.
“Decisions regarding prisoners’ release, specifically such that are made in the process of diplomatic negotiations, are strictly within the jurisdiction of the government, as it is responsible for foreign affairs and national security,” Justice Grunis emphasised.
Almagor Terror Victim’s Association, which had filed the petition challenging the release of the prisoners, responded to the Court’s decision, saying “the bereaved families see this as proof that the Prime Minister’s immoral politics have penetrated the halls of the court.”
Peace talks between the two nations had fallen apart three years ago on the question of settlements with Palestine demanding a complete freeze on settler activity but Israel insisting on continuing in order to accommodate natural growth of population in the settlement blocs.