Thursday, October 01, 2009
A Video for a Video, a Soldier for a Prisoner'
Hillel Fendel '
Criticism of the decision to exchange 20 female terrorists – most of whom tried to murder – for a videotape of Gilad Shalit has been widely heard. The 20 will be released from prison on Friday, in accordance with a decision of the Political-Security Cabinet of the Government of Israel today (Wednesday). Israel’s negotiating team on behalf of kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit reached an agreement to this effect with the Government of Egypt and with the Hamas terror organization.
In exchange, Israel is to receive a “sign of life” from Shalit, in the form of a video taped in recent weeks.The video is one minute long, and Gilad is seen speaking about himself, according to a Gaza terrorist spokesman. The spokesman did not explain how the date of the video would be verified.
The Legal Forum for the Land of Israel responded negatively to the news of the intended release of terrorists: “Exchanging 20 terrorists for a videotape shows a government with no strategic vision. The 20 potential murderesses will celebrate this weekend, and thus encourage further murders and kidnappings.”
The government announced that the list of prisoners to be freed has been examined by legal authorities and by the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency), which have found them “suitable for release in terms of their danger to the public and the charges against them.”
Of the 20, 16 were sentenced to prison terms of various lengths, while four were only in “detainee” status – including two charged with “attempting to cause death.”
Of the 16 sentenced terrorists, four were to be released by the end of 2009 in any event. Nine, however, were to be released in the year 2010 – including seven who were convicted of “attempting to cause death.”
The three remaining sentenced terrorists are being released about 18 months early; all of them were convicted of “attempting to cause death.” A Hamas spokesman in Gaza said the 20 belong to all the various terrorist organizations: four are of Hamas, five are from Fatah, three from Islamic Jihad, and the remainder are independent or of other groups. Eight are from Shechem (Nablus), four are from Ramallah, three each are from Hevron and Bethlehem, and one is from Gaza.
A Tape for a Tape, A Soldier for a Prisoner
Forum Director Nachi Eyal said, “A normal country would exchange a tape for a tape, a prisoner for a soldier. A true government of leadership must look past the eyes of the Shalit family and see the eyes of the families of the next kidnap victims, which this exchange will, unfortunately, encourage.”
MK Michael Ben-Ari (National Union) said, “Exchanging terrorists for a videotape is just another deterioration in the government’s series of errors throughout the Shalit case. We have become the suckers of the Middle East.”
The Forum of Bereaved Parents in the Almagor Terror Victims Association says it is happy that a sign of life will be heard from Gilad Shalit, but says, “We view with great gravity the trend implicit in this decision, when the Government of Israel is prepared to pay with terrorists in exchange for a mere sign of life – a simple humanitarian gesture that is required by every international charter to be carried out without getting anything in return.”
“This mini-deal shows that the Netanyahu government can be easily pressured and made to cave in to the terrorist gangs from Gaza. The government should not give in to terrorists, and certainly not at the beginning of the negotiations, and must demand to receive a sign of life without giving anything in return."