(Communicated by the President’s Spokesperson)

President Shimon Peres sent a letter to Justice Minister Prof. Daniel Friedmann, exercising his authority to grant pardons for Samir Kuntar, in the framework of the deal to return the abducted IDF soldiers in Lebanon, Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser.

In his letter, President Peres wrote: "I would like to inform you that I received your request and made use of the authority vested in me to grant pardons, in accordance with Article 11b of Basic Law: The President of the State, regarding the person in question, in the wake of the Government’s 29 June 2008 decision, which was ratified today (Tuesday), 15 July 2008, concerning the release of the abducted IDF soldiers in Lebanon, Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser. I made this difficult decision after speaking to the Shahar, Keren and Haran families, the victims of the abominable murderer Samir Kuntar.

I, along with the entire nation, feel their bitter and unbearable pain.  I should like to emphasize what is self-evident – that this decision in no way constitutes forgiveness to the murderer for his abominable and reprehensible crimes.  I neither forget nor forgive."

Shortly after signing the letter, President Peres personally informed the Goldwasser and Regev families of his decision.