The list of prisoners that Hamas wants Israel to free in return for Gilad Shalit cannot be accepted. It includes convicted mass murders, the leader of a faction that murdered an Israeli cabinet minister, etc. One specimen is Abdullah Barghouti, who is serving 67 consecutive life sentences for building the bombs that killed 66 and wounded 500 in a series of bombings (details in YNet, Notorious Palestinian prisoners demanded in Shalit exchange).
As I’ve said before, the Israeli government is incapable of playing chess better than a five-year old, since it is always surprised by the next move of its opponents. Who did they think would be on the list, traffic violators? Are not Palestinian and Arab demands always outrageous?
The function of negotiations for the Palestinians and Arabs in this conflict is not to achieve peace, not to reach compromises, not to solve problems. The function is to humiliate, to pocket concessions and move world opinion about where the center lies. Then the terrorism starts again (or never stops) to bring forth another round of ‘negotiation’ in which what was previously unthinkable becomes possible and what was unacceptable becomes a given.
Israel should treat proposals like this list with the contempt they deserve. The question should not be “what will Israel give to get Shalit back?” but rather “what will happen to the Palestinians if Shalit is not returned quickly and in good shape?”