As of Sunday night, around 40 Israelis taken hostage by Hamas are due to have been released, with the third group being released Sunday night, with approximately three times as many Palestinian security prisoners being released in return – in addition to the temporary ceasefire between the sides.
But because the vast majority of the Palestinians being released are women or minors and all of the Israelis being released are women or minors, many in the global media have lost sight of the fact that the Palestinians have all been convicted or charged of violent crimes, many of terror crimes.
In addition, some of the Jewish minors are as young as babies and toddlers, whereas the youngest Palestinian due to be released as a teenager and most are above the age of 16.
The terrorists traded for innocents
Ragah Abu Kias of the West Bank, and connected with Fatah, was arrested when he was 16 on July 2, 2021 for opening fire on Jews. Because he did not succeed at killing anyone and was a minor, he was given a lenient sentence of five years and two months in jail, before Israel added him to the list of releases.
Saadi Abu Adi of the West Bank and connected with Hamas, was arrested when he was 17 on April 2, 2023 and will turn 18 in March of 2024. His arrest was for opening fire on Jews as well as throwing rocks, and breaking traffic laws. He was in pre-verdict detention pending the outcome of his trial.
Marah Bechir of east Jerusalem and connected with Hamas, was arrested in October 2015, at age 16, after she stabbed a border policeman, who survived. She was sentenced to eight and a half years in prison.
Another prisoner to be released is Ahmed Marzouk, 18, arrested four months ago for assaulting police, arson, possession of weapons, and other charges.
Next, Amani Heshim, 37, was arrested in December 2016 and charged with inflicting grievous bodily harm, armed with knives and daggers.
Further, Walela Khaled Fozi Tangi, 26, arrested in August last year was charged with attempted murder and possession of weapons and explosives.
A review of these releases and the other prisoners due to be released which will reach 150 at the end of the first four days, and could reach 300 if the ceasefire is extended by several days, finds that a significant minority committed crimes which could have killed people, while the remaining majority supported or were involved in a terror group in some less immediately dangerous way.
The oldest Palestinian on the release list is a 59-year-old woman.
The prisoners were released from Damon, Megiddo and Ofer prisons.
The Justice Ministry published the list last week in anticipation of the deal with Hamas playing out. Besides Hamas and Fatah listed above, other prisoners are affiliated with Palestinian Islamic Jihad and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP.)
Those to be released were tried or charged in military and civilian courts depending on whether they were residents of the West Bank or east Jerusalem.
Joanie Margulies contributed to this report.