Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon referred on Monday to unseen considerations that are far from the public eye as the main catalyst for Israel’s decision to release imprisoned Palestinian terrorists.
Speaking at the IDF’s absorption base for new draftees at Tel Hashomer, Ya’alon said, “Releasing prisoners came as a result of choosing a bad option over a worse option… We reached the decision to avoid the worse [option]. Many strategic considerations, which may be revealed in the future, stood behind this, and hence we must go forward with a release of pre-Oslo prisoners.”
Some analysts have suggested that Israel agreed to the release as part of its efforts to secure American support in a potential military confrontation with Iran over Tehran’s expanding nuclear program.
Ya’alon said the decision was made “with a heavy heart.”
“These are murderers,” he said. “This is a challenge to justice, to law and to bereaved families, and I hear their voices.”
He added that the release also posed challenges to deterrence and security, but said those problems could be dealt with.
“We are embarking on this maneuver responsibly, with good judgement, and we’ll be able to provide an answer to security aspects… I know who these prisoners are, how many they are, what they did, [and] when they did it,” Ya’alon said.