Israel's Prisoner Swap: 1027 to 1

By:  Sam Blumenfeld
10/19/2011
       
Israel's Prisoner Swap: 1027 to 1

In June 2006, Hamas terrorists tunneled into Israel from the Gaza strip, surprised an Israeli tank crew, killed two of its soldiers, and took a third soldier, 19-year-old Gilad Shalit, prisoner. It was simply a case of deliberate kipnapping since this was not a combat situation. Shalit was taken back into Gaza and held incommunicado for five years, until Tuesday, October 18, 2011, when he was released in exchange for 1,027 Palestinian prisoners. It was Egyptian mediation which made the exchange possible.

Most of the Palestinian prisoners were terrorists guilty of multiple murders of innocent Israelis. Yet, Israel was willing to release them in order to get Gilad Shalit back to his family in Israel. Was this a wise deal or an act of stupidity on the part of Netanyahu’s government? Some see it as a sign of Israel’s strength that it could agree to such an exchange. They think that it might even bring the parties closer to a peace settlement. What could be a better good-will gesture for peace than releasing all of these prisoners?

 

In June 2006, Hamas terrorists tunneled into Israel from the Gaza strip, surprised an Israeli tank crew, killed two of its soldiers, and took a third soldier, 19-year-old Gilad Shalit, prisoner. It was simply a case of deliberate kipnapping since this was not a combat situation. Shalit was taken back into Gaza and held incommunicado for five years, until Tuesday, October 18, 2011, when he was released in exchange for 1,027 Palestinian prisoners. It was Egyptian mediation which made the exchange possible.

Most of the Palestinian prisoners were terrorists guilty of multiple murders of innocent Israelis. Yet, Israel was willing to release them in order to get Gilad Shalit back to his family in Israel. Was this a wise deal or an act of stupidity on the part of Netanyahu’s government? Some see it as a sign of Israel’s strength that it could agree to such an exchange. They think that it might even bring the parties closer to a peace settlement. What could be a better good-will gesture for peace than releasing all of these prisoners?

Others see this idea as wishful thinking, as a sign of dangerous weakness. After all, it is assumed that some of these released killers will want to kill again, and Hamas has not given up its aim to destroy Israel.

So far, there has not been much reaction from the international community. Perhaps the Netanyahu government thought it could gain some sympathy from other nations by its magnanimous act. It is doubtful that any other nation would have done what the Israelis did.

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Sam Blumenfeld (photo)

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