Gilad Shalit: All Views and News On The Asymmetric Israeli-Hamas Prisoners Swap
GILAD Shalit has bene released. Sergeant-Major Schalit, 25, was kidnapped from Israel by Hamas five years and four months ago. In that attacks, Hams killed two Israeli soldiers. In exchange for one soldier, Israel is freeing 1,027 Palestinian prisoners. The question is: why now has been released?
It has been a very long five years but I always knew I would go home. I heard of the release a week ago. You can’t imagine how I felt when I heard I was going to go home at last. I thought I was going to be there for many years. I miss my family, and I miss talking to my friends about ordinary things.”
Israeli President Shimon Peres has commuted the sentences of the freed prisoners rather than pardoning them. He wrote on all Palestinian prisoners’ release papers:
“I neither forgive nor forget.”
Israeli hostage Ehud Goldwasser was murdered by his kidnappers. Says his mother Mickey Goldwasser:
“What we achieved today was more than to bring back one soldier, it was to bring back our values, all that we believe in, and so I was so happy,” says Mrs Goldwasser. She too once waited for her soldier son to be returned alive but two years after he was abducted from Israeli territory in 2006 she was presented with only a coffin. For Aviva Schalit I say she gave birth to Gilad once and today after five years of labour she gives birth to him again, and that is a moment that we all share,” continues Mrs Goldwasser.
“Our values are one for all and all for one, and we won’t leave one behind. We are all committed to each other.”
The Los Angeles Times looks at 15-year-old Helena Rapp who was stabbed to death on her way to school by a Palestinian youth 19 years ago.He is now being freed. Says her father Zeev Rapp:
Recent days have taken me 20 years back, to the day of my daughter’s murder. Three prime ministers promised me my daughter’s killer would never be released – but he was released today, a despicable murderer who killed a 15-year-old girl and tore her heart out… My heart goes out to Gilad Shalit and his family, really, it does. But releasing Shalit and releasing murderers are two separate issues, two lines that should not meet.
Noam Shalit – Gilad’s father:
We are today finishing a long journey, a tiring and long journey that started in June 2006 … As you saw today, he came back, went down the stairs came into the house through the door which he left so long ago… Gilad is feeling well. He has a few light wounds… shrapnel wounds… also complications due to lack of sunlight.
Today we can say that we’ve gone through a rebirth of a son. I would like to thank the whole crowd, the public who gathered here today. You came to support Gilad with such a warm turnout, supporting in solidarity… Unfortunately Gilad will not be able to come out, but thanks to the pilot of the chopper who brought us here who flew twice over the village. Gilad looked down and waved at the crowds…
We would like to take this opportunity to thank the Israeli government, the prime minister, who took this hard decision, not an easy one unfortunately. I must say that even for us this deal was not easy. As we stood yesterday at the court with the bereaved families, we sympathise with them, we understand their pain. We understand the price they are paying for Gilad’s freedom…
We hope that this great crowd and the media will understand us and will let us go back to our normal lives as soon as possible… When I met Gilad I didn’t say much, I just gave him a big hug, and I said if I remember correctly ‘Welcome’, but mostly a strong hug.
Egyptian TV Press Shalit:
This is hideous – he can’t even gather his breath and still she badgers him:
Shalit fainted on the chopper ride to Tel Nof base. He’s undergoing medical examinations and might be hospitalised. (IDF Spokesperson)
“Hamas wanted an amnesty that everyone should be able to go wherever they wanted. We negotiated strongly and in the end Hamas did agree to limiting who would be released and where they could go. We are taking about people who murdered children, who blew people up on buses and in coffee shops. They are being hailed by Hamas as heroes, and this just shows that Hamas has not changed its mindset.”
Will the prisoners kill and attack again? Sky News’ man on the scene says “yes”. But it is a theoretical argument. The Israelis were right – save one life. It is all you can gurantee.
In 2009, Abu Marzuk, deputy chief of the Hamas Political Ministry, said he was not interested in Shalit’s well-being, and added: “We are not giving him any special guard since he is as good as a cat or less”.
Who Has Been Released:
Nahid Abd al-Rauf al-Fakhuri, currently serving 22 years for recruiting of suicide bombers in Hebron
Ibrahim Muhammad Yunus Dar Musa, currently serving 17 years for taking part in the terrorist attack on Hillel coffee shop in Jerusalem in 2003;
Amjad Ahmad Muhammad Abu Arqub, currently serving 25 years for recruiting terrorists who murdered two civilians and a female IDF solider in Carmei Tzur
Kabel Sami Mustafa Sha’abl, currently serving 25 years for abetting a suicide bombing in the entrance to Ariel in October 2002, which killed three people.
Nasser Yataima, currently serving 29 life sentences for the 2002 Passover bombing of Park Hotel, which killed 30 Israelis and injured 140 more;
This family man was released.
Hamas has declared Tuesday a national holiday and erected a giant podium in Gaza City’s al-Katiba Park, where it plans to transport the prisoners after they cross into the Palestinian enclave from Egypt.
Ismail Haniya, the prime minister, and members of the de facto Hamas government in Gaza, leaders of other factions, relatives and tens of thousands of onlookers were expected to welcome the prisoners.
Three days of celebrations were planned across the occupied West Bank, with President Mahmoud Abbas welcoming returning prisoners.
But not everyone will be celebrating. More than 4,000 Palestinian “security prisoners” will remain in Israeli jails.
A short walk from the al-Katiba Park, relatives have set a up a tent in solidarity with prisoners who began a hunger strike on September 27, because Israel dropped some of their privileges, such as the opportunity to study for an academic degree.
One of the released Hamas leaders, Yehiye Sinwar, has called on the group’s military wing to kidnap more Israeli soldiers in order to free the remaining prisoners in Israeli jails, AP reports. Sinwar one of the founders of the Hamas military wing, the al-Qassam Brigades, told Hamas’s al-Aqsa TV:
We shall spare no efforts to liberate the rest of our brothers and sisters. We urge the Al Qassam Brigades to kidnap more soldiers to exchange them for the freedom of our loved ones who are still behind bars. Sinwar had been sentenced to life in prison for his role in the kidnapping and killing of two Israeli soldiers.
Tony Blair, the Middle East Peace Envoy:
He says the exchange of Israeli and Palestinian prisoners offers a change of atmosphere in the pursuit of a two-state solution
Is he serious?
Shahd Abusalama posts on Electronic Intifada:
I suddenly heard people chanting and clapping and could see a woman jumping with joy. While on the phone, she said loudly, “My husband is going to be free!” Her husband is Abu Thaer Ghneem, who received a life sentence and spent 22 years in prison.
As I watched people celebrating and singing for the freedom of the Palestinian detainees, I met his only son, Thaer. He was hugging his mother tight while giving prayers to God showing their thankfulness. I touched his shoulder, attempting to get his attention. “Congratulations! How do you feel?” I asked him. “I was only one day old when my father was arrested, and now I am 22 years old. I’ve always known that I had a father in prison, but never had him around. Now my father is finally going to be set free and fill his place, which has been empty over the course of 22 years of my life.”
Although it’s unfathomable that the US or the UK would free a thousand enemy combatants in exchange for a single prisoner, for reasons owing as much as to Jewish cultural norms as to Israel’s socialist origins (the notion of a “people’s army” runs like Ariadne’s thread through today’s IDF), the fate of one 25-year-old solider has become a national trauma. For more than a year, Shalit’s parents, Noam and Aviva, have camped in a tent outside Benjamin Netanyahu’s office as their son’s face has adorned street posters and t-shirts and Facebook profile pictures. – Michael Weiss
Israel is about to get back a young man who never did anything wrong, a simple citizen of this country. The palestinians, on the other hand, are going to be flooded with almost one thousand criminals, and good luck building a stable society with that (Hamas could use some stability in light of recent and ongoing events in the region, and even though it won a few points with the Shalit deal, this is not quite what ordinary people need for their daily lives to run smoothly). – Simply Jews
Image: Noam (R) the father, and Yoel (C) Shalit, the brother of abducted Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, who was captured in 2006 by Hamas-allied militants in the Gaza Strip, arrive at their family home in Mitzpe Hila in northern Israel on October 12. (Vie Gateway Pundit).
I am not an apologist for Israel, and I deplore much of what the Israelis have done to the Palestinians, but in kidnapping Gilad Shalit and holding him for five years, Hamas have done the Palestinian cause no favours. Indeed they have done something wrong in itself, something inhumane, something to be condemned by all. By contrast, the Israelis, in caring about Shalit, in refusing to sacrifice him, and in releasing 1,000 Palestinian prisoners early, has shown a merciful face to the world. – Catholic Herald
This is Israel’s worst military defeat in its modern history and it is being celebrated with grins and cheers, not just in Gaza but in Tel Aviv.
What the deal really means is revolving door terrorism is back. Kill Israelis and you stay in prison only long enough for other terrorists to kidnap an Israeli and win their release. Those 25-year sentences mean nothing. A life sentence doesn’t mean life, it means however many years it takes the Israeli government to give in to blackmail.
As over a thousand terrorists are freed, it is time to recognize that every Israeli institution has failed to deal with terrorism. Its court system packed with career leftists is a joke. Its prisons have become nothing more than temporary housing with free education and entertainment for terrorist murderers in between their release under international or Hamas pressure. – Daniel Greenfield
It’s rare for both Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories to be celebrating anything on the same day. But both sides feel like they have got something out of this prisoner swap. Gilad Shalit has been described as “Israel’s son”. Nearly every family send their children to do military service in Israel and so Shalit’s capture resonated with every mother and father in the land.
The prisoners being released into the West Bank and Gaza are seen by many there as heroes of the resistance to Israeli occupation. But when the celebrations are over, the problems will remain. In the zero-sum game of Palestinian politics, because the prisoner release strengthens Hamas, it weakens President Abbas of the Palestinian Authority. He is the only one who can negotiate with Israel. This swap does not bring a peace deal closer. - BBC’s Paul Danahar
This collective willingness to expose ourselves to the risk of a future terrorist attack, if necessary, to secure Schalit’s release speaks volumes about Israelis’ strong sense that we are all in this Zionist project together, in good times and in bad. It’s not that we are insensitive to the feelings of past terrorist victims’ families and loved ones.
Nor are we unaware that many, even most, of those who will be released will return to violent terrorism – and that by paying a ratio of 1 to 1,027 we are encouraging future kidnappings. It’s just that none of these potential future dangers seems to be able to trump the fact that right now an IDF soldier’s life is being saved. - The Jerusalem Post
Palestinians decorate a building ahead of the release of PFLP militant Maher Abu Karsh, 39, shown in banner bottom right, at the Shati refugee camp in Gaza City, Monday, Oct. 17, 2011. Abu Karsh is scheduled to be released on Tuesday in an exchange between Israel and Hamas in which 1,027 Palestinian prisoners will be released for captured Israeli soldier Gilad Schalit. Abu Karsh was arrested in April 1993 for killing an Israeli lawyer.
Palestinian Hamas militants stand guard on the main road in Khan Younis, southern Gaza Strip
An Israeli family waits for the arrival of captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit near the Kerem Shalom crossing on the border with Gaza Strip, Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2011. The Hamas militant group released an Israeli soldier Tuesday more than five years after his capture, turning him over to Egyptian mediators in exchange for hundreds of Palestinian prisoners. (AP Photo / Tsafrir Abayov)
An Israeli army helicopter, carrying released Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, flies near the border crossing of Kerem Shalom in southern Israel, Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2011. Looking dazed, a thin and pale Gilad Schalit emerged from a pickup truck Tuesday under the escort of his Hamas captors and the Egyptian mediators who helped arrange the Israeli tank crewman’s release after more than five years in captivity. (AP Photo/Yehuda Lahiyani) ISRAEL OUT
Noam Shalit, right, and Aviva Schalit, third right, parents of Israeli captured soldier Gilad Schalit walk together with their son Yoel, fifth right, and his girlfriend Yaara Winkler, fourth right, along with Israeli army officers towards an Army helicopter, not seen, in Tefen, northern Israel, Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2011. Hamas’ leader in the Gaza Strip says the militant group has officially turned over a captive Israeli soldier to Egypt as part of a prisoner swap with Israel. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)
People react as they see first images of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit after more than five years in captivityYour views?