The committee responsible for recommending the early release of prisoners decided not to release a Hamas inmate who has been imprisoned in Israel for a year and a half. The decision was reached so that Israel does not lose its leverage with the terrorist organization that has been holding IDF soldiers’ bodies since Operation Protective Edge.

Photo Credit: Reuters/Channel 2 News

The Eshel Prison’s Parole Board of the Israel Prison Service decided last week not to grant early release to a Hamas-associated inmate who illegally crossed into Israel from Gaza and participated in riots. The committee’s reasoning behind the decision, which was published today (Tuesday), the judge notes that the request for early release must be rejected in order to maintain Israel’s leverage due to the fact that Hamas is currently holding the bodies of the late Oron Shaul and Hadar Goldin captive.

“The committee believes that weight should be given to the fact that the prisoner in the appeal is part of the Hamas terrorist organization’s military faction, which is holding two IDF soldiers’ bodies captive and refuses to return them to their families for burial,” the parole board wrote in its decision. The committee also asserted that releasing the prisoner could harm the Israeli public’s trust in the judicial system.

A year and a half ago, an Israeli court sentenced the Hamas terrorist to three years in prison after he broke a lock at the border fence in Gaza during a riot and illegally crossed into Israel. In July of 2015, the Palestinian Gaza resident joined one of Hamas’s military factions, participated in a military course and obtained weapons training through the terrorist organization.

The parole board ruled that the inmate will continue serving his entire sentence. “The prisoner was convicted of security offenses committed of an ideological background,” the decision read. “The prisoner hasn’t proved that he has abandoned the ideologies that led him to commit the offenses for which he was convicted.”