Faced with petitions from a number of Israelis opposed to the deal, Israel’s High Court has heard arguments on the prisoner exchange with the Hamas faction and has declined to block the deal, which was negotiated by the Netanyahu government.
The Supreme Court President said that the session was “one of the most loaded and unnerving debates” he had ever seen, but with the petitions rejected, it is believed that the first round of prisoners, including hundreds of Palestinians and Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, will be transferred in a matter of hours.
But while his government is the one that made the deal, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu insisted the exchange wasn’t something to be celebrated, condemning his own planned release of detainees as a “difficult day.”
Though polls show the exchange overwhelmingly supported by Israeli voters, the opponents are extremely outspoken, including former military Chief Rabbi Avihai Rontzki, who in a new interview urged Israeli soldiers to summarily execute suspects instead of detaining them from now on, to ensure that no future prisoner swaps ever take place.
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