I think it’s certain that Israel will agree to something like Hamas’ conditions for the release of Gilad Shalit:
After the nocturnal inner cabinet meeting ended overnight Monday, reports began emerging that the seven-member forum had reached its decision. Israel Radio cited an unnamed senior Israeli official as confirming one such report.
Former Fatah-Tanzim leader and terrorist Marwan Barghouti, who is serving multiple life sentences after being convicted in fatal attacks against Israelis, would be allowed to return to his West Bank home, a Palestinian close to the negotiations said. Hamas agreed that several other hard-core convicts would be deported, he said…
After more than four hours of talks, Prime Minister Netanyahu’s office released a statement early Tuesday morning [today] saying only that instructions were given to the negotiating team about “the continuation of efforts to bring Gilad Schalit home safe and sound.” There was no word of a decision, further meetings or steps. The decision to continue negotiations came in lieu of any final decision by the government to agree unequivocally to Hamas’s demands.
The inner cabinet met into the night Monday in what was described by insiders as a final marathon discussion on the prisoner-swap deal that would end Schalit’s Gaza captivity.
According to sources close to the deliberations, the proposal to release some 950 Hamas gunmen and activists, some of whom have been convicted of fatal terrorist attacks, for the 23-year-old soldier was expected to gain approval by the forum, after which it would be presented to the full 30-member cabinet. — Jerusalem Post
Israel — and it really is the whole country — is facing a “Sophie’s choice“. To let a young man rot in a Hamas bunker where he’s already spent more than three years of his life and where his life could end at any moment, or alternatively, to free 1000 of the worst of the worst murderers and terrorists, including Marwan Barghouti, who is now serving five life terms for masterminding at least that many murders, and who would quite likely become the next Palestinian Authority President if released.
This ‘prisoner exchange’ would be the culmination of a series of similar exchanges over the last few years, each one worse than its predecessors.
The terrorists who will be released will assuredly kill many more Israelis. In addition, tomorrow they can take another hostage. The damage they can do to the nation is immense. ‘Technical’ solutions like deporting them will have no effect. Everyone knows this, Israel and Hamas. There is no way to draw a line after Shalit.
What is being exchanged is one life today for more lives in the future. The near future. Maybe even the Jewish state. Maybe this will be the point at which people decide that continued sacrifice isn’t worth it.
If it were my son, who incidentally spent many days during his army service in Hezbollah-infested Lebanon, I would say “to hell with the state, just let my son free.” In a country where everyone’s son or daughter could be Gilad Shalit, a lot of people think this way, even if it’s someone else’s son. Maybe Jews have an overdeveloped sense of empathy.
May Hashem erase Hamas from the universe for committing this remarkably cruel crime. If Hashem is busy the IDF could do it too, given the political will.
I don’t think the will is there. I think there will be another surrender, with lots of explanations and rationalizations. And for a good cause, to save this boy. Did I say that he could be my son? And yet, the correct choice is clear.