Arab MK Attends Release Party for Terrorist Prisoner

Palestinian Hamas terrorists. (Reuters/Ibraheem Abu Mustafa)

United Arab List MK Abed al-Hakim Hajj Yahya last week participated in a “release party” for a Hamas terrorist who had been convicted of being an accessory to a terror attack, according to a report in Yediot Acharonot. Muhammad Khalaf, a resident of the Arab village of Jatt in northern Israel, was convicted of acquiring materials for the construction of bombs and giving them to a Hamas terrorist who sought to carry out a terror attack. According to the charges, the materials were sufficient to construct nine bombs. One of them was used against IDF soldiers.

Khalaf was recruited by Waal Zakla, a Tul Karem resident who worked in his carpentry shop in Jatt. Zakla shared his plans to build the bombs with Khalaf. He agreed to help, acquiring chemicals, including phosphates, suitable for constructing a bomb. Shin Bet and IDF investigators tracked down the two. Khalaf originally denied knowing Zakla, but investigators had by that time gathered sufficient evidence against him for his role in the plot. He was convicted on terror charges and sentenced to 12 years in prison; he was released last week, after serving most of his sentence.

A long line of dignitaries from Jatt greeted the freed terrorist upon his return — among them the Arab MK. Speaking to Yediot Acharonot, Yahya said that he saw no problem celebrating the terrorist’s release. “When a person serves his sentence and is released, you cannot continue to imprison him,” the MK said. “I am not even sure what he did and why he was in jail, but I will not allow him to continue to be punished after he has paid his debt to society.”