Itongadol.- Ma\’ariv asserts that most of those slated to be released "did not fight for liberation or an end to the occupation; they fought against Israel\’s very existence." The author suggests that "A wise government would have acted differently. You want to be freed? Sure. When peace comes they will be freed, not all at once but gradually, when it becomes clear that those freed are turning to reconciliation, as opposed to incitement and continued terrorism, then more and more will be released." The paper says that both Israel and the Palestinians are playing the same game: "How to pin blame for the failure on the other side. And since this is the only story, one must make every effort to be portrayed as the side that showed goodwill." Thus, the author continues, the government "that insists on continued construction on every hill, as a step that destroys peace, is compelled to vote to release murderers, another step that will do nothi ng to advance peace." The paper urges the Government to approve not only the prisoner release but a construction freeze as well and then to condition the whole deal on the release of Jonathan Pollard: "There is no chance of receiving anything from the Palestinians, neither reconciliation nor confidence. Then if the Americans compel us to take this step, they should give something. And if they refuse, responsibility for the result will be on them, not on Israel."
Yediot Aharonot reminds its readers that "This will be the first time that Israel frees Israeli Arab prisoners – who murdered Israelis or Jews – in a gesture to the Palestinian Authority," and adds, "As a rule, Israeli Arabs are not recognized as Palestinian security prisoners and, therefore, are ineligible for Red Cross visits, except for residents of eastern Jerusalem, who are eligible by special agreement." The author asserts: "When Israel releases Israeli murderers who murdered Israelis and Jews in the wake of pressure to implement gestures for a foreign political entity, it renounces its sovereignty," and suggests that today\’s prisoner-release decision "shatters whatever \’red lines\’ are left regarding the release of security prisoners from Israeli jails." The paper hopes that today\’s gesture "will be worth the gamble that the Prime Minister has taken upon himself so as not to be seen by the Americans as the one who refu sed peace."
Yisrael Hayom believes that "The main justification for the decision to release terrorist murderers is that Netanyahu rejected the Palestinians\’ substantive demands. He said \’No\’ to resuming the negotiations on the basis of the intention to establish a Palestinian state on the borders of the Green Line, \’No\’ to resuming the talks from the point where they were halted under Ehud Olmert, who was inclined to make concessions, and \’No\’ to explicitly announcing a construction freeze in settlements during the negotiations."
The Jerusalem Post comments on the Histadrut’s threat to shut down Ashdod and Haifa ports because of the government announcement that it intends to build two additional labor union-free ports, and states that the threat “is tantamount to inflicting paralysis on most of the economy and causing billions in damages.” The editor believes that in its essence, the strike “is about our way of life – a choice between growth and a free-market system, and union latifundia where strongmen and bosses call the shots, where public installations are exploited for dishonest personal gain, with which the rest of us are forced to put up,” and declares: “Because Israel is an island in geopolitical terms, monopoly control at the ports is all the more destructive. It is the duty of a government to serve the people who installed it in office and break up corrosive monopolies.”
Haaretz states: “[Tel Aviv municipality’s] new policy of denying business permits to Eritrean asylum-seekers, even if they have work visas, joins other measures that contravene Israel’s legal and moral obligations to this group.