This is a major mistake on the part of the Israeli Cabinet, IMO, and will only send the message to Israel’s Islamist enemies that they are a soft touch, and are prepared to trade almost anything in exchange for just ONE individual. I predict many more future abductions of Israeli soldiers in the sure knowledge that they can, as in the Shalit deal, be exchanged for thousands of imprisoned terrorists and Islamist enemies of Israel.
Gilad Shalit bound for Israel ‘within days’ after prisoner swap deal
Agreement reached to free 1,026 Palestinians in exchange for Israeli soldier captured in 2006
Phoebe Greenwood, Tel Aviv
guardian.co.uk, Wednesday 12 October 2011 09.25 BST
Gilad Shalit, the Israeli soldier held captive in the Gaza Strip since 2006, could be returned to his family within days after the Israeli cabinet approved a deal to free more than 1,000 Palestinian prisoners in exchange for his release.
Cabinet ministers were in an emergency session until the early hours to vote on the proposal, which would lead to the release of 1,026 Palestinians held in Israeli jails, including militants involved in some of Israel’s bloodiest terror attacks. […]
In Gaza city, news of the deal was met with spontaneous celebrations. The main Hamas leader, Khaled Mashal, claimed the exchange as a victory for Palestinians. “Our heroes in Israeli prisons in exchange for one fighter,” he said […]
“I say this, to the Palestinians and freedom lovers in the world: we managed to destroy the shackles of the occupier.”
In a televised addressed, Mashal said the negotiations had been “very, very difficult”, and called the deal “a national accomplishment”.
But he also issued a veiled threat to Israel, saying that a government that would release 1,000 prisoners would be prepared to release 8,000. And the Palestinians, he warned, would do whatever it took to make this happen. […]
High-profile militants rumoured to be due for release are Abdallah Barghouti, sentenced to 67 life sentences in 2004 for providing the explosives used in terror attacks in several Jerusalem cafes and the Hebrew University, and Abbas Sayed, imprisoned for his role in planning a double suicide bombing at the Park hotel in Netanya in 2002, in which 30 people were killed and 140 injured. […]
The government’s rightwing camp, a crucial pillar of political support to the prime minister, is likely to respond more critically to the release of highly skilled and influential Palestinian militants.
Rabbi Brigadier General Avichai Ronsky, a former leader of the Israeli Defence Forces, described the swap as “crazy”.
“We know who the people being released are,” he said. “They are artists at these kinds of things. A second after their release, they will be untraceable.” […]
For the past two and a half years, Hamas has denied the International Red Cross access to Shalit, who was captured when he was 19. The only contact with the solider during this time has consisted of three letters, an audiotape and a video, received in exchange for the release of 20 female Palestinian prisoners two years ago.
What Israel SHOULD have done, and not now but at the time of Shalit’s initial abduction, was:
• Held the Hamas leadership accountable for the abduction
• Given a short-term deadline for military action
• Initiated immediate and total cessation of all Israeli supplied electricity and water
• Closed the border to all but essential basic food and related items
• Categorically refused any possibility of prisoner/terrorist exchange
As I said above, this will only lead to further Israeli abductions, and ever increasing demands that greater numbers of terrorists be released from Israeli prisons in exchange. 1000:1 ratio this time; how much higher next time?!
A very bad call. And a very bad precedent has been set from which there can be no going back.
[Mirror post HERE]