NEW YORK, Dec. 30, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Israel's release of another 26 Palestinian prisoners reaffirms Prime Minister Netanyahu's commitment to the current direct talks with the Palestinian Authority aimed at achieving a sustainable, permanent peace. Today's release is the third in a series of four that will free a total of 104 Palestinian prisoners, most convicted of fatal terrorist attacks on Israelis, and many sentenced to life for their brutal crimes.
"We're talking about people with a lot of blood on their hands, convicted of some of the most horrific crimes imaginable," said AJC Executive Director David Harris.
"Painfully, for Israelis, releasing more terrorists doesn't come after a peace deal is signed, but in the hope of getting to one," said Harris. "It hurts profoundly, for we know that the freed terrorists will be lionized by Palestinian leaders, and, if past is prologue, some of the released prisoners likely will plot and commit terror again."
Twenty-three of the prisoners released today were convicted of murdering Israelis, one of them an immigrant from the United States, and Palestinians suspected of collaborating with Israel. They have all served between 19 and 28 years of their terms.
"What should be recognized widely is the fact that the Israeli government is fulfilling a commitment it made when peace talks resumed in August," said Harris. "It would be hard to imagine any other government, even the U.S., agreeing to such a release of prisoners with blood on their hands – and not at the end of a peace process, but rather in order to sustain it."
SOURCE American Jewish Committee