Israel's Deputy Defence Minister has described the proposed release of Palestinian prisoners as a "political and ethical mistake". Likud Party MK Danny Danon added that the move could harm state security and its deterrence power.
"The message that we are sending the terrorists is that we eventually free them as heroes," Danon said on Sunday in an interview with Israel Radio.
He insisted that this decision must be subject to discussion and it should be made only in response to American pressure. Had the death penalty been legal in Israel, Danon pointed out, most of the prisoners would not be alive to be released.
Minister Amir Peretz of the Movement Party (Hatnuah) said that releasing Palestinian prisoners exacts a painful price but it will have no strategic effect on the state of Israel. He added his belief that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas is a strong leader who will succeed in preserving quiet in the West Bank through continuous cooperation with Israel's security forces.