Israeli court declines to block Shalit deal


(JTA) — Israel’s Supreme Court rejected the petitions to block the prisoner-exchange deal that is expected to return Gilad Shalit to Israel on Tuesday.

Late Monday, the court ruled that it did not have the authority to block the deal, under which more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners will be released in exchange for the freeing of Shalit, an Israeli soldier who has been held captive since June 2006.

The petitions to block the deal were brought by organizations representing family members of victims of terrorist acts perpetrated by those slated to be set free under the deal.

The court’s chief justice, Dorit Beinish, called Monday’s stormy session "one of the most loaded and unnerving debates to come before this court," Haaretz reported. 

"Undoubtedly, the government’s decision will send many terrorists who will be set free without serving their full sentence," Beinish wrote in her statement. However, she noted, the "resolution of the issues raised in the case before us, one which involves security considerations, as well as moral and ethical matters, is in the hands of the elected government."

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