Monday, March 16, 2009

The Shalit Deal

A deal to release 450 Palestinian prisoners in exchange for Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit would be much more justifiable than the two deals with Hezbollah. Does that mean the current deal is a right move? No, it doesn't.

The deals with Hezbollah were so extremely wrong that it isn't hard to achieve a better agreement. We gave the Lebanese terrorist group hundreds of prisoners in exchange for soldiers' dead bodies and one living criminal. We should have only given dead bodies in exchange for dead soldiers, and the criminal, who was captured while doing something illegal, was not worth a high price.

Gilad Shalit is different. He is alive. It is right to release hundreds of living Palestinian prisoners for him. The question isn't the number. The question is who is being released exactly and how they will affect Israel's security. What these prisoners have done before is unimportant. It is important to assess what they might do if they are released. If they pose a serious threat and will carry out or plan attacks that will kill many Israelis they should not be released.

Also, Palestinians with Israeli citizenship should not be released as part of this deal. We cannot let Hamas become the representative of Palestinians inside Israel. These Israeli citizens who were involved in terrorism are not part of the Hamas's jurisdiction, or even the Palestinian Authority's. You know what? Any Israeli Arab prisoner who wants to be released as part of the Hamas deal should be given two options: either stay in prison till the end of your term, or give up your citizenship and be deported to Gaza. Who needs convicted terrorists walking Israel's streets?

So, should Israel go through with this deal? I don't know. I don't feel that I know enough about the prisoners Hamas is demanding. If the threat to Israeli civilians is low, than I support it. Otherwise, I don't.


  1. According to this source (2003):

    There are also at least 530 "administrative detainees" in IDF custody, who are held without charge or trial for renewable six-month terms.

    Administrative detention is a system revived from British Mandate times (before Israel was established in 1948) and has drawn harsh condemnation from human rights watchdogs who say it is illegal and arbitrarily applied.

    All such detainees should be released immediately or charged with specific crimes and put on trial, rights groups say.

    Israel's frequent willingness to swap hundreds of prisoners for one of their own must reflect the truth of the above, as no state would ever accept to release hundrerds of dangerous criminals (political or other) to free one of their own. A new deal must be possible for both Gilad and these administrative detainees' sakes. It makes sense.

  2. I don't know how many of the prisoners Hamas demands are administrative detainees and how many were convicted. I do know that the ones the Israeli government is unwilling to release were put on trial and convicted.

  3. Fair point.

    Oh, and here's the two state solution poll I was referring to. With caveats...