An article by John Glaser published yesterday at “antiwar.com” is headlined thus:
Israel Plans to Betray Promise on Prisoner Swap Deal
The second part of the agreement – to release another 550 Palestinians after the return of Gilad Shalit – may be abandoned
Glaser goes on to say that
… a government-appointed panel in Israel recommended in a secret report Thursday to back out of the deal. Defense Minister Ehud Barak would not divulge details of the report but said Israel has “no choice but to overhaul the rules” now that Sgt. Gilad Schalit has been freed.
The second half of Palestinian prisoners, some of whom are children and minors, are reportedly serving sentences for “security offenses,” not for violent attacks or for being part of either Hamas or Islamic Jihad.
Now here is the reality:
The second and final half of the prisoner release deal (what I have called the ‘jailbreak’) occurred 0n December 18. A total of 1027 prisoners, including multiple murderers, were released in the swap for the kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit.
It is true that the 550 convicts released in the second phase tended to be those serving lighter sentences or those near the end of their sentences. This is because the deal called for Hamas to pick those to be released in the first part and Israel the second. The mass murderers and other more serious offenders were released in October.
In a fascinating example of the pathological thinking of the Israeli extreme Left, Ha’aretz writer Akiva Eldar said that Israel had treated the Palestinians unfairly by releasing too many car thieves and not enough murderers!
The ‘secret government report’ that Mr. Glaser refers to deals with recommendations for the appropriate strategy for Israel to take the next time the savages take hostages and demand ransom:
Interviewed on Israel Radio, [Defense Minister Ehud] Barak was asked about a classified report submitted to him on guidelines for handling negotiations regarding abducted soldiers. The interviewer asked whether the rules were expected to be made stricter so it would “no longer be 1,000 terrorists for one soldier.”
“I believe that will be the conclusion,” Mr. Barak said. “There is no choice. We have to change the rules fundamentally to protect the state’s overall interests.” He said an important part of the report’s conclusions were on “how to approach the negotiations, in what framework, with what rules, and I think it’s clear that the rules will be a lot stricter.” — NY Times
Glaser’s story is simply fabricated. In fact, Israel did keep its word to the terrorist organization that had held a young man, Gilad Shalit, underground in the Gaza Strip and incommunicado for more than five years.
For my part, I don’t believe that there is a moral obligation to treat murderers and hostage-takers fairly. Here’s what I said at the time of the first release:
Let’s remember that Israel is not releasing these prisoners, who by all rights should serve out their sentences, because it lost a bet on a football game to Hamas and the PLO. They are being released in payment of ransom, to free a kidnap victim … There is no difference between this and a situation in which gang members free their confederates by holding a gun to the head of a hostage. The idea that one could behave dishonorably toward the gang in that situation is absurd.
I’ll send this information to Glaser. Let’s see if he’ll retract his story.
Update [1402 PST]: Antiwar.com took the article down. Glaser apparently received a lot of heat for it, because he apologized.