The parole committee of Eshel Prison decided last week not to free an imprisoned terrorist who was set to be released. Rather, they will continue holding him as an asset in Israeli negotiations with Hamas for the release of IDF soldiers, both live and deceased, held by Hamas in Gaza.
The terrorist infiltrated Israel by sneaking through the Gaza security fence and participated in several riots. He was arrested and sentenced to three years in prison, in a sentence handed down about a year and a half ago. He was a member of Hamas, having gone through a military training program sponsored by the terror group, Israeli security officials said. Prison officials said that his behavior in prison was good, and as a result he asked for a parole hearing.
His behavior might have warranted a hearing, but the fact that he continues to promote Hamas ideology and has not expressed remorse for his actions means that he is not ready to be released, the parole board said. But the board added that the issue of Hamas’s continued holding of Israelis was an important factor in its decision.
The board believes that a great deal of weight must be given to the fact that the terrorist belongs to the military wing of Hamas, which refuses to release the remains of IDF soldiers and allow closure for their families. Releasing the terrorist in these circumstances, the board added, would “damage the trust of the public in the justice system.”
Four Israelis are missing in Gaza. They include civilians Avram Mengistu and Hisham a-Said, along with fallen IDF soldiers Oron Shaul and Hadar Goldin. Shaul and Goldin went missing in August 2014, during Operation Protective Edge. Hamas has demanded the release of dozens of remains of terrorists in return for the release of the remains of Shaul and Goldin, and dozens of live terrorists in return for the release of the live Israelis.
In 2011, Israel released 1,027 terrorists in exchange for Shalit, who had been held hostage by Hamas for over five years.