By Micah Halpern
Thursday October 13, 2011
I've Been Thinking:
In a vote of 26 for and 3 against, Israel's cabinet approved the deal with Hamas to free Gilad Shalit. Hamas has also agreed to the deal. That is no small accomplishment.
Shalit, an Israeli with dual French citizenship was kidnapped and has been held by Hamas for nearly five and half years. He is being exchanged for 1,027 prisoners.
Anything can happen - but it looks like the deal will proceed in stages.
The head of Israel's internal clandestine agency, the Shin Bet, said that 90% of the deal was agreed upon three years ago. The only real question was which prisoners would stay and which could leave their Israeli prisons.
Some of the people on the list to be freed in exchange for Shalit include terrorists involved in vicious attacks. The names of Marwan Barghouti and the terrorist responsible for the kidnapping and death of another Israeli soldier, Nachshon Wachsman, have been on and off the list too many times to count. Until all the prisoners are released, we will not know their fate.
These debates are never easy. Getting Gilad Shalit back home while he is still alive is a priority. But each and every one of the 1,027 people who stand to be released is responsible for horrific attacks against Israelis.
Yesterday Halid Mashaal, the head of Hamas, praised the deal and congratulated the squad that kidnapped Shalit. He said it was a successful operation that will lead to the release of over 1,000 prisoners.
That is the Palestinian point of view and we must never lose sight of that mindset.
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