Israelis opposed to a prisoner exchange deal with Hamas sought High Court intervention on Monday to block the release of hundreds of jailed Palestinians in return for captive Israel Defense Forces soldier Gilad Shalit.
The High Court convened at 12 P.M. to consider four petitions filed by the Almagor Terror Victims Association and relatives of Israelis killed in Palestinian attacks. Judging from similar appeals in prisoner exchange deals in the past, the court is unlikely to intervene in what it considers a political and security issue.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sent a letter Monday to hundreds of families of terror victims. In his letter, Netanyahu expressed understanding and empathy for the families, but stated that he is “obligated to return a soldier sent out to protect Israel.”
The first phase of the swap, to take place on Tuesday, should bring to a close a saga that has gripped Israelis over the five years of Shalit’s captivity in the Hamas-run Gaza Strip.
But under Israeli law, those against the planned release of 477 of the 1,027 Palestinian prisoners set for release, many of whom were convicted of deadly attacks, can appeal before the exchange is carried out.
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