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newsIsrael at War

Israeli Arab detainees refuse to be included in prisoner release deal

Israeli Arab representatives argue that including Israeli Arabs in a deal with Hamas is undesirable as it gives the terror group a role within Israel's Arab population.

Freed Palestinian security prisoners arrive in Ramallah, Nov. 28, 2023. Credit: Flash90.
Freed Palestinian security prisoners arrive in Ramallah, Nov. 28, 2023. Credit: Flash90.

The attorneys of several Israeli Arab detainees informed the Israeli State Attorney’s Office and Justice Ministry on Wednesday that their clients refuse to be included in a prisoner release deal with Hamas.

On Monday, Israel’s Prime Minister’s Office released a list of 50 female prisoners in Israeli jails that would be added to the 150 prisoners slated for release as part of a prisoner-exchange deal with Hamas.

Of those 50, 22 were Israeli Arabs arrested after Oct. 7 for online incitement in support of the terror group and its surprise attack on Israel, in which 1,200 Israelis, mostly civilians, were killed and 240 were taken hostage.

The Israeli decision sparked opposition on Tuesday from the Ra’am and Hadash-Ta’al parties, along with the Arab Higher Monitoring Committee, an unofficial group comprising Israeli Arab Knesset members and local Arab council heads.

They argued that including Israeli Arabs in a deal with Hamas is undesirable as it gives the Gaza-based terror group a role within Israel’s Arab population.

“It is very serious that the government gives Hamas ownership over Israeli Arab citizens in order to include them in transactions of this type,” said Arab political figures, according to Channel 12.

The Hadash Party also expressed fear that once released the prisoners would face retribution from Jewish extremists.

The government’s decision to add 50 more female prisoners to the original list of Palestinian prisoners was Israeli “compensation” to Hamas for ceding on Tuesday to Israel’s demand to free two additional women, government officials told Army Radio.

The officials said it was key to resolving an impasse in the ceasefire negotiations on Tuesday.

“As of now, we have freed 74 hostages, including 50 women and children,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said during a visit to an Israeli military base on Tuesday.  

“We are committed to completing this outline and bringing about the release of all of our hostages—all of them, without exception,” he added.

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