Menu JTA Search

Bereaved MK calls for prisoner-swap

A right-wing Israeli lawmaker bereaved in a Palestinian bombing came out in support of releasing jailed terrorists in exchange for captive soldier Gilad Shalit.Yitzhak Levy, whose daughter Ayelet Hashahar died in 2000 car bombing by Islamic Jihad, said Wednesday that Israel must accede to the ransom demands of Shalit’s captors, which include a mass-amnesty for Palestinian inmates including many who took part in major terrorist attacks.But the ex-prisoners would have to be banished abroad rather than allowed back in to the Palestinian Authority, he said.”It’s possible to release prisoners with blood on their hands, on condition they do not return to Gaza or the West Bank. This is a security requirement, as well as a national one,” Levy, a senior member of the National Religious Party’s Knesset faction, told Army Radio.”Gilad’s return home is more important than this-or-that prisoner sitting in jail.”Levy said he had written on the matter to Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, who has so far ruled out the lopsided prisoner-swap demanded by Hamas, the main group involved in abducting Shalit on the Gaza Strip border a year ago.But after Hamas released a first audiotape of the soldier this week, an opinion poll showed that most Israelis want the government to be more flexible in negotiating for his release.