The government's plan to release 85 Palestinians imprisoned prior to the 1993 Oslo Accords as a goodwill gesture to the Palestinian Authority ahead of renewed peace talks has met harsh criticism by families of terror victims, who say the move will "add insult to injury."
The 85 prisoners in question are all considered "heavyweight terrorists" directly involved in murderous terror attacks against Israelis.
"The possible release of these terrorists is a disgrace to the Israeli justice system," said Ehud Bromberg, who lost his brother Avraham in a terror attack.
Sgt. Avraham Bromberg, 20, who served in the Israel Defense Forces Armored Corps, was on his way home from his Golan Heights base when he was attacked by a group of terrorists on Nov. 26, 1980. Bromberg fought his assailants, but suffered a fatal head injury. He died at Rambam Hospital in Haifa four days after the attack.
Bromberg's murderers, Karim Younis and his cousin Maher Younis, were sentence to life imprisonment, but their sentence was commuted by President Shimon Peres in August 2012, making them eligible for parole in 2023. The Palestinians demand that the two be included in the upcoming prisoners release.
Avraham's son, Avi, who serves as spokesman of the Almagor Terror Victims Association, was livid Tuesday, when media reports confirmed that the cabinet will vote on the matter in the coming days.
He is demanding that the cabinet's vote be postponed pending a meeting between the representatives of the bereaved families and the ministers.
"It is inconceivable that the state can ignore the bereaved families like this," he said. "President Peres and the government are grateful to Abu-Mazen [Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas] for the difficult concessions he agreed to for the sake of the negotiations, and we will be left to pay the price. We didn't even get a phone call. The government's conduct is a disgrace."
Almagor Director Lt. Col. (ret.) Meir Indor also leveled harsh criticism at the government over the decision.
"Israel is facing a slippery slope. The Palestinians are gang-raping the government and it just capitulates," Indor said. "This happens every time in different ways. Every deal you make with the Palestinians -- they violate."
Indor bashed the justice system's treatment of its heavyweight prisoners, saying it weakened efforts to bring terrorists to justice.
"The Israeli justice system is left empty of authority," he said. "This time it's Fatah terrorists. Last time it was Hamas terrorists. [The government] is asking us to accept the fact that the State of Israel is willing to let terrorists get away with killing Jews and that it no longer seeks to punish them with the full force of the law."