News / Middle East

Israel's High Court Approves Prisoner Exchange with Hamas

Palestinian Mohammed Tamimi holds a picture of his sister Ahlam Tamimi, held in an Israeli jail, during an interview in the West Bank city of Ramallah, October 16, 2011.
Palestinian Mohammed Tamimi holds a picture of his sister Ahlam Tamimi, held in an Israeli jail, during an interview in the West Bank city of Ramallah, October 16, 2011.
Robert Berger

A major prisoner exchange between Israel and the Palestinian militant group Hamas is expected to take place on Tuesday, after approval from Israel's Supreme Court.  

The Israeli high court rejected petitions from the families of terror victims who tried to delay the release of Palestinian prisoners on grounds that they are terrorists who pose a threat to national security.  Under the agreement, Israel will to release 1,027 prisoners in exchange for captive Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, who has been held by Hamas for more than five years in the Gaza Strip.

The court ruled that the prisoner exchange is a political and security issue, and that there are no grounds to intervene in a decision by the Israeli government.

Petitioners like Yossi Tsur, who lost his son in a terrorist attack, are outraged.

"We came here today to the Supreme Court to try and stop this deal, which we think is a disaster to the State of Israel," said Tsur. "We think it's illegal; it's immoral.  Releasing 1,000 terrorists is a crime against the people of Israel."

Despite the consternation over the release of top militants involved in deadly bombings, a public opinion survey shows that 79 percent of Israelis support the prisoner exchange.

Robi Damelin, who also lost a son in a Palestinian attack, says her heart is with Gilad Shalit's mother.

"I watched Aviva Shalit and I was so happy to see the smile on her face," said Damelin. "And there are all these mixed feelings, but I'm so convinced that we have to free prisoners.  It's the beginning of a way to go towards reconciliation."

In the first stage on Tuesday, Israel is expected to release 477 Palestinian prisoners and the captive Israeli soldier will return home.  An additional 550 Palestinian detainees will be released in two months.

In Gaza, Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum says the exchange is set to take place.

Barhoum says there are no obstacles in the way of completing the deal, and that Gilad Shalit will be handed over to Egyptian authorities.  He says Palestinians are planning a big celebration in Gaza to give the returned prisoners a heroes’ welcome.

Um Herez is preparing to welcome her husband home after 26 years in an Israeli jail.

"I have no words to describe how happy I am,” she said, adding that as a mother, she is also happy for the mother of Gilad Shalit.  Herez says she hopes that every missing son, regardless of his religion, will return home to his mother safe and sound.

 

Follow our Middle East reports on Twitter
and discuss them on our Facebook page.

You May Like

China Investigates Former Powerful Security Chief

Former security chief and member of Politburo Standing Committee, Zhou Yongkang, under investigation for suspected 'serious disciplinary violation' More

India, US Look to Reset Ties During Kerry Visit

This week's talks will be first high level interaction between two countries since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took charge More

Video Young African Leadership Program Renamed to Honor Mandela

YALI program, launched by President Obama in 2010, aims to build skills in business, entrepreneurship, public management and civic leadership More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid