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Noam Shalit faces terrorist victims’ families outside courtroom

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(JTA) – Noam Shalit faced a bevy of protesters opposing the release of his son Gilad as he arrived at the Israeli Supreme Court in Jerusalem to urge the court to allow the prisoner exchange.

Shalit was met with heckles from members of the families of those killed by some of the 1,027 Palestinian prisoners due to be released in exchange for his son. Shalit was at the court in order to oppose the petitions. 

“Nobody knows what the impact of any delay or any change, even the smallest, in the terms would be,” he wrote in a letter addressed to the court.

Yossi Zur, who lost a son in a 2003 suicide bombing in Haifa, told Shalit, “You shouldn’t have come to this discussion,” according to Ynet. Zur told reporters that Shalit’s attendance was like “stabbing someone in the back and twisting the knife.”

"From our experience with past deals, and sadly we have a lot of experience, we know how many Israelis will be killed as a result of the release of these terrorists," Zur told Channel 10 television. "I am here to protect my children who are still alive."

Schvuel Schijveschuurder, who lost his parents and three siblings in a 2001 bombing in Jerusalem, and who last week vandalized the Yitzhak Rabin memorial in Tel Aviv, yelled at Shalit, “Hang a black flag over your home in Mitzpe Hila, this is a day of mourning.”

Schijveschuurder is among the petitioners asking the court to cancel the exchange deal. Gilad Shalit is expected to be released Tuesday; the release of Palestinian prisoners will begin the same day.

Ze’ev Rapp, whose daughter was murdered in Bat Yam, shook Shalit’s hand and told him that the protesters had nothing against him or his son. Rapp added that he is considering returning his family’s identity cards and reserve force certificates in protest of the exchange.

"I am not against Shalit’s return, I am against the release of my daughter’s murderer," he said. "I have a written commitment from three prime ministers who promised me that he won’t be released. If this is the country I live in, I’ll draw my conclusions.”

Ynet reported that Shalit listened to the demonstrators but did not respond.

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