Israeli Supreme Court to hear cases against Shalit swap
 Tbilisi 12:09 - 17.10.11 «GHN»
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CNN - The Israeli Supreme Court will hear cases Monday brought by family members of terror victims who are against the release of Palestinian prisoners in exchange for captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.

A total of three petitions were submitted to the Supreme Court on Sunday. Earlier in the day, Israel released the names of the first group of prisoners to be freed.

"The goal of this petition is to stop the madness. We are very afraid that the terror will again rule the streets -- that they will murder us again in restaurants, in cafes, at night in bed, at kindergartens and in schools," said Meir Schijveschuurder, whose parents and three siblings were killed in the 2001 bombing of a Sbarro pizza restaurant.

Two other families that lost loved ones in a 2003 bombing of a bus in Haifa filed civil lawsuits against the plotters of the attack.

"It may sound like I am a drowning man clutching at a straw, but this is the least that we can ... at this time," said Ron Kerman, whose daughter was killed.

The Israeli public overwhelmingly supports the exchange of more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners for Shalit, an Israeli army sergeant who was captured in a raid in 2006, when he was 19 years old.

Nearly 8 out of 10 Israelis favor the deal, according to the poll of 500 people conducted by the Dahaf Polling Institute for the daily Yedioth Aharonoth.

Israelis are equally split on whether "the release of terrorists" will harm Israeli security, with 50% saying Yes and 48% saying No -- a statistical tie given the number of people polled.

Late last week, the terror victims' association Almagor petitioned the Supreme Court to suspend the release until the deal is thoroughly examined.

The list released by Israel features 477 names, including those of Ahlam Tamimi, serving life terms for being an accomplice in the Sbarro bombing, and Amneh Muna, who plotted the killing of a 16-year-old Israeli boy in 2001 and received a life sentence.

The most notable name not on the list is that of jailed Palestinian lawmaker Marwan Barghouti, who is serving five life sentences.

He was convicted in an Israeli court on murder and other charges related to his role in planning attacks on Israelis during the second Intifada.

In exchange, the Palestinian group Hamas will release Shalit.

Israel approved the deal last week, agreeing to release in two stages 1,027 Palestinian prisoners, including hundreds serving life sentences for attacks on Israelis.

Shalit has been held incommunicado by the group, which controls Gaza, since his seizure.

The first swap is expected to take place early this week, with the second stage scheduled for later this year.

Israel's Prisons Authority said the Palestinians slated for release are being taken to two facilities -- one for the 27 female prisoners on the list, the rest for the men -- from which they will be released together.

Once freed, they will be under various restrictions on a case-by-case basis: Some will not be allowed to leave the country, while others will have other restrictions on their movement or be required to report their whereabouts to local police, Justice Ministry spokesman Moshe Cohen told CNN.Shalit, meanwhile, will be transferred back into Israeli territory via the Kerem Shalom border crossing and will undergo medical tests and debriefing at an air force base, the Israeli military said.

Once that is complete, he will be flown to his home at Mitzpe Hila, north of Haifa.

"The mission will be completed when Gilad Shalit returns to his family alive and well and in good health," Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said following a meeting with David Meidan, his special envoy on the Shalit issue, who returned from Cairo on Sunday.

A Palestinian official raised questions about the fact that only 27 women are among those being released.

"We believe that there were some discrepancies conducted by the people conducting the negotiations on behalf of the Palestinian female prisoners. Instead of negotiating on all 37 names of female Palestinian prisoners ... they only negotiated on 27 names especially when Khaled Meshaal (Hamas leader) said that all Palestinian female prisoners will be released," said Hassan Abed Rabo, a spokesman for the Palestinian Ministry of Prisoners Affairs.

"We welcome the release of any Palestinian prisoners from Israeli jails regardless of their political affiliation and political backgrounds, but what worries us is the remaining thousands of Palestinian prisoners who remain inside Israeli jails under ... difficult conditions," Rabo said.

Shalit's family has continuously petitioned Israeli government officials to broker a deal that would secure his release.

"Everyone wants to see Gilad Shalit safe and well and back home but I think there is a real failure to understand the price that is being paid, and the price is phenomenal," said Arnold Roth, who lost his daughter Malki in the Jerusalem suicide bombing in 2001.

"We are releasing people who have dedicated their lives to killing Jews and Israelis."

 

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