Some of the most notorious Palestinian masterminds of multiple Israeli murders are in the first batch of 477 convicted terrorists who will head for the Gaza Strip, the West Bank, E. Jerusalem and deportation Tuesday, Oct. 18 as part of the price Israel agreed to pay to rescue Gilead Shalit from more than five and a half years in captivity with Hamas in Gaza.
This is the highest price Israel has ever paid to recover a captive in Arab hands. When Israelis saw some of the names of the Palestinians allowed to walk free on the list released Saturday night, they were jolted back to the horrific years of Palestinian terrorist atrocities which struck day after day in every corner of the country. Their huge relief over the soldier's rescue was mixed with dread. They statistics are well-known: Sixty percent of the Palestinians released in previous prisoner swaps reverted to their old crimes. This time, before the Netanyahu government approved the exchange, Israel's security chiefs asserted they were capable of containing any fresh upsurge of Palestinian terrorism in the wake of the deal.
A group of terrorist victims and bereaved families petitioned the high court to delay they handover. But they have little chance of success in view of the popular groundswell of support for the Netanyahu government's decision to bring the soldier home.
The Prime Minister's special emissary David Maidan returned from Cairo Sunday, Oct. 16, and reported he had wound up the final arrangements for the exchange. Gilad Shalit's transfer route to Egypt and thence to Israel has not been released for fear of disruptions.
Of the 477 Palestinians released, 280 were serving multiple life sentences. A total of 204 prisoners will be deported overseas, 17 deported to Gaza for three years and 144 banished to Gaza permanently.
Of the 27 female terrorists, 26 will return to their homes in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem, except for Amna Muna, who trapped 16-year old Ofir Nahum to his death and will be exiled to the Gaza Strip and Ahlam Tamimi, who will be banished to Jordan for transporting a suicide bomber to the Sbarro pizzeria in Jerusalem where 15 people were killed, including five members of a single family.
One of the first atrocities of the Palestinian intifada war was the public lynching in Ramallah on Oct. 12, 2000 of two Israeli soldiers. Abdul al-Aziz Salaha was filmed at a window holding up his bloodstained hands in triumph. He now goes free.
Walid Anajas was serving 36 life sentences for orchestrating the attack at the Moment Café in Jerusalem which killed 12 people and the bombing of a pool hall in Rishon LeZion which left 20 people dead – both in 2001. He will be deported overseas.
Also to be released is Mohammed Shratkha, who was serving three life sentences for kidnapping and murdering the two soldiers Ilan Saadon and Avi Sasportas.
Ibrahim Shammasina, from Ramallah was jailed in 1993 for four murders, two of them teenagers, one a taxi drive and the fourth a soldier. He will not return to his West Bank home.
The second part of the deal, the release of another 550 Palestinians chosen by Israel takes place in two months.
Some 8,000 Palestinian terrorists remain in Israeli jails. Security experts often argue their presence is an open invitation to abduct more Israeli soldiers and supports the argument for executing multiple terrorist killers. Although the death sentence for this crime is on Israel's law books, it has never been invoked for Palestinian violence.