Nobel Laureate calls for release of Palestinians

By Jessica Elgot, October 13, 2009
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Ada Yonath

Ada Yonath

The Israeli Nobel prizewinner Professor Ada Yonath has called for the release of Palestinian prisoners.

Professor Yonath, who won the Nobel Prize for chemistry last week, said she believed imprisoning Palestinians just created more terrorists.

She also said she believed that the release of the prisoners should not be used as bargaining tool for kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit.

"It's not clear to me why we're holding these Palestinian terrorists, or what we call 'terrorists,’” she told Israel Army Radio.

She added: “We need to think about ways to reduce their motivation to kill and be killed. We have it in our power to change the current situation, when a man sits in our jails for a number of years, and around him friends and family become angry. That is how we create terrorists.”

She denied there was a need to hold prisoners who have committed crimes against Israelis, saying: "You could give other punishments, there is no need to hold them here."

Professor Yonath, from the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, won the 2009 prize along with American partners Venkatraman Ramakrishnan and Thomas Steitz for "studies of the structure of the ribosome."

Last updated: 12:03pm, October 13 2009