Three dozen members of Congress urged FBI Director Robert Mueller and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Friday to treat the Palestinians freed by Israel in the swap for Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit as terrorists.
In a letter, the lawmakers noted that each of the released prisoners was convicted for acts of terrorism and “should be treated as such.” All of the 1,027 Palestinian prisoners should be on every terrorist watch list and database to keep them out of the United States, the bipartisan group of House members added.
“We urge you to work across the intelligence community to ensure these individuals are included in all relevant terrorist databases,” they wrote. “Each of these released Palestinian prisoners has been convicted of a terrorism-related offense and should be treated as such.”
So far, 477 Palestinians have been released in the swap for Shalit, who was held captive for five years by Hamas.
Initially the Obama administration praised the deal, but State Department spokesperson Mark Toner said last week the U.S. were concerned about some of the prisoners involved in the swap.
“As a matter of principle, the United States opposes the release of individuals who have been convicted of crimes against Americans,” Toner stated. “We communicated our position to the government of Israel after we became aware of specific individuals who were identified as part of this release.”