Outside Ofer prison, near Ramallah on Monday night, thousands of demonstrators gathered to protest the release of 26 Palestinian prisoners – all convicted of murdering Israelis – in the second stage of confidence-building measures led by Washington for the current Israeli-Palestinian peace talks.
At least 3,000 people demonstrated, chanting “Jewish blood is not cheap.” Also present were families of victims who were murdered in terror attacks perpetrated by some of the Palestinians terrorists scheduled to be freed on Tuesday.
The father and brother of IDF soldier, Guy Friedman, who was murdered in 1992 by four Israeli Arabs who used axes and pitchforks to hack Friedman and two other IDF soldiers to death at an army base spoke with Tazpit News Agency. According to the brother, Yaron, all four of his brother’s murderers will be released in this stage of the peace talks. “All four, who were Israeli citizens, received three life sentences for their brutality,” he noted.
“In our worst nightmares, we did not imagine that Guy’s murderers would ever be freed,” Friedman’s father, David, painfully explained to Tazpit News Agency.
The father and son traveled from their home in Zichron Yaakov to the Ofer prison on Monday night, to join the protestors, holding photos of Guy. “People ask, what is the point of these demonstrations?” Yaron said. “For us, we hope to save families of future terror victims from this terrible of experience.”
“Maybe the Knesset can pass a law against the release of murderers of our children for peace,” added the father. “We can only hope.”
For Gila Molho, the current prisoner release has brought a new wave of pain to the family. Gila is the sister of South-African-born Ian Feinberg, a lawyer and peace activist who was murdered in 1993 by Masoud Issa Rajeb Amer, a member of the PFLP, along with two other terrorists. During a meeting in a European Union building in Gaza, at the offices of a European-funded NGO that sought to bring economic development to Palestinians which Feinberg was active in – Amer, a guard in the building, and fellow terrorists burst into the office and killed Feinberg with a hatchet.
Gila spoke to the demonstrators in tears, saying that the first murderer of her brother had been released during the Gilad Shalit deal, the second murderer during the first stage of freeing prisoners back in August, and now Amer, the last of the murderers who will be released on Tuesday.
“We do not want to be some political gesture,” said Molho in a trembling voice. “It cannot be that Israeli and Jewish blood is sold as a gesture. Benyamin Netanyahu needs to wake up and understand that our youth is getting a terrible message – that Jewish blood is no longer sacred,” Molho said in English to the audience of thousands including members of the international press.
“It is our duty and obligation to protest this prisoner exchange. There is no excuse in the world for this to happen,” Ronen Shoval, the director of Im Tirzu – one of the organizations, along with the My Israel, as well as Likud and Jewish Home activists, officials of the Yesha Council, and others who helped organize the event – told Tazpit News Agency.
“These terrorist don’t even have to sign a form renouncing their ways or promising not to commit any future terror acts – what kind of step to peace is that?” Shoval asked.