Victims' families lament release of Palestinian prisoners

Victims' families lament release of Palestinian prisoners

JERUSALEM - From a rudimentary tent outside the Israeli prime minister's residence in Jerusalem, Ortal Tamam, whose uncle was killed by Palestinians, rails against the imminent release of Palestinian prisoners.

"I feel my uncle is being killed for a second time - this time by my government," the 25-year-old woman says, explaining she was there to "protest the release of Palestinian terrorists".

Her uncle Moshe Tamam was a 19-year-old soldier on leave when he was abducted, tortured and killed by Palestinians in 1984, years before her birth.

"My family was crushed by Moshe's death, but his killer could be released from prison, receive money from the Palestinian Authority and a hero's treatment," she says indignantly.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has agreed to the phased release of 104 Palestinian prisoners in line with commitments to US-backed peace talks, which resumed in July.

A first batch was freed in August and a second in October, with a third tranche of 26 prisoners expected to walk free late Monday night.

The vast majority of those to be freed were behind deadly attacks on Israelis prior to the 1993 Oslo peace accords, and have by now served long prison terms.

Holding pictures of victims of Palestinian attacks carried out by some of those to be released on Monday, Tamam says she wants to be the voice for "the many Israelis who reject this immoral release".

"Even if this release goes through, we are crying out to prevent it from happening again," she says.

Tamam, who has been at the protest tent since Wednesday, was not the only person bracing the winter chill in protest.

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