A deal for the release of kidnapped Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit was said to be “imminent”, but now seems to have stalled. The stumbling block? Hamas wants the release of some of its most heinous murderers in exchange:
Hamas officials refused to say which names were holding up the deal. But the -based Arabic daily al-Hayat said they included Ibrahim Hamed, the former commander of Hamas’ military wing in the West Bank and mastermind of a Jerusalem suicide bombing that killed 11 people in 2002, and Abdullah Barghouti, a mastermind of several suicide bombings serving several dozen life sentences.
Hamas appears to be demanding the release of Abbas Sayid as well, a planner of the Park Hotel suicide bombing on Seder Night 2002 that killed 30 people, according to lawyer Jawad Immawi, a senior official in the Palestinian Prisoners Affairs ministry, which employs many of the lawyers who represent high-level inmates.
That’s right, they mean the terrorist bastards behind attacks like this one. This is the Hamas that the world’s apologists keeps insisting is a “legitimate government” and should be dealt with.
The fact that Israel is even considering such a deal – the fact that it had already agreed to release hundreds of other terrorists from prison – speaks only to the value that it puts on Shalit’s life and the life of every one of its citizens. This, of course, is exactly what Hamas exploits as a weakness. And by negotiating with Hamas, Israel plays straight into its hands.
And of course, it’s tough for Hamas to complain that an Israeli life and a Palestinian life are valued unequally (by the media, by the West, etc.) when they insist on the release of hundreds of Palestinian prisoners in exchange for one IDF soldier.
Hamas will claim this deal – if it goes through – as a major victory, will use it to bolster its standing versus Fatah, and will argue that it proves that violence works. And really, with deals like these, it’s hard to argue with that logic. How many more innocent lives will fall victim to the newly-released terrorists? How many prisoners will Israel need to swap for the next kidnapped soldier?
I want nothing more than for Gilad Shalit to return home, safe and unharmed. But at what price?