Breakthrough for Gilad Shalit's release outcome of US deal with Hamas
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu reported to the hastily convened full government session Monday night, Oct. 11 that the deal with Hamas for bringing Gilad Shalit home within days was initialed Thursday and signed Monday, Oct. 11.
It was the best possible, he said although the agreed price for the swap is heavy:
one thousand jailed Palestinian terrorists, including 60 convicted on multiple murders, who will be exiled to the Gaza Strip and Arab countries.
That is a stunning development. 1000/1 ratio. Wow.
DEBKAfile discloses that secret clauses of the transaction for recovering the Israel soldier, whom Hamas kept hidden for five years, were finalized between the United States, Egypt, Israel and Hamas during US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta's visits to Israel and Egypt on Sept. 3-4.
During the cabinet meeting, three ministers, Silvan Shalom, Moshe Yaalon and Avigdor Lieberman, voiced reservations in view of the high risk of setting so many terrorists loose.
Gilad Shalit, who was kidnapped in a cross-border raid from Gaza five years ago, and held without any visitors including the Red Cross every since, will first be transferred from Gaza to Cairo to await Israel's release of the first batch of 450 Palestinian prisoners.
The remaining 550 prisoners will be freed after the soldier arrives home. This is the heaviest price Israel has ever paid for any soldiers in Arab captivity.
There is actually more to this story:
As to the backdoor diplomacy leading to Gilad Shalit's release, DEBKAfile further discloses that recognizing the rising electoral strength of the Muslim Brotherhood and its Salafi allies in Egypt's forthcoming parliamentary elections next month, the Obama administration entered into active dialogue with its leaders to draw them away from Tehran and bring them close to the ruling military junta and Washington.
Shortly before Panetta arrived in the Middle East, a US diplomat revealed that US officials had arrived in Cairo on Oct. 2 for talks with Brotherhood representatives.
This was the first clue that the White House was after a deal not only with the Brotherhood but also its Palestinian offshoot Hamas, part of which was to be the release of the Israeli soldier.
Netanyahu referred to the heavy price Israel was paying in terms of security by letting a thousand terrorists walk free - scores much Israeli blood on their hands. But he also paid a heavy political price: Israel's acceptance of the United States' rapprochement with the Egyptian Muslim brothers - henceforth dubbed in Obama administration parlance a "moderate Muslim force."
By procuring the release of 1,000 Palestinians from Israeli jails, Hamas has outperformed is rival, the Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas as the lead champion of the Palestinian cause.
Rogue's Gallery: Some 'Prisoners' That May be Freed for Shalit
Hamas has made no secret of the fact that it was demanding that Israel free a host of arch-terrorists that were involved in multiple terrorist attacks and serving life sentences with no possibility of parole.
A Hamas source said that the full list of terrorists to be released will be released later Tuesday night. Among them will be Arab-Israelis, and Arabs in Jerusalem, who are in prison for planning and participating in terror attacks. Until now, Israel has been opposed to including those terrorists in the deal.
Among the terrorists to be released are some serving multiple life sentences – unnamed sources are suggesting that one of them is Marwan Barghouti, who was sentenced in 2004 to five life sentences for planning and carrying out the murder of five Israelis, and involvement in the murders of another 33.
The rest of the article describes some of the other terrorists who will be released.
The following statement says it all:
MKs of the Land of Israel Lobby also expressed their opposition to the deal, saying that “we can already see before us the future victims of these terrorists.”
While there should be joy at the release of Gilad Shalit, the price being paid is enormous. This scenario also strengthens Hamas considerably in the region - neither of which will be good for Israel.