Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat visited the bereaved families protesting outside the Prime Minister’s residence Sunday, and indicated that he is taking steps to prevent them from being evicted from the site.
“I came this morning to identify with you, like all of the Jewish people, as members of bereaved families,” Barkat stated to the demonstrators. “The entire nation of Israel feels your pain and sympathizes with your cries [against the terrorist release], regardless of the government’s decisions.”
“Your cries are heard, loud and clear, and there is no doubt among the people that your message is moral and correct,” Barkat continued.
The mayor also stated that he is working to repeal an eviction notice for the protest issued by the Jerusalem municipality. “Needless to say, the [Jerusalem] municipality allowed and [continues to] allow the existence of this protest,” he affirmed. “This is a basic democratic right.” Barkat added that he would work with the families and the city to find a way to appease both parties, and ensure that the protest could continue.
The demonstration is against the upcoming release of 26 convicted terrorists, which is slated for Monday night and early Tuesday morning. This week’s release is the third installment in a series of “gestures” to the PA, with a total of 104 convicted terrorists and murders slated for release by March 2014.
The Jerusalem municipality issued an eviction notice to the protestors Sunday, leaving many of them shocked. The bereaved families noted to the press that their intention was never to camp out at the site for months on end in protest of the release. Rather, they had been planning to stay until the release was fully carried out – until Tuesday.
The full list of the terrorists being released was revealed Saturday night. All of the terrorists were convicted prior to the signing of the Oslo Accords, and have been in prison for between 19-28 years, according to the Prime Minister’s office.
The previous terrorist release, in October, saw waves of protests across Israel. The demonstrations culminated in an emotional protest outside of the hotel room of US Secretary of State John Kerry and a petition submitted to the High Court to stop the releases.
The Supreme Court also rejected a second petition against the release Thursday, stating “with all due understanding of the petitioners’ pain, their petition does not raise any legal ground for intervention. The claims have been raised and ruled on in the past.”