The news is reporting that Gilad Shalit, a 25-year old Israeli soldier being held hostage by Hamas for the past five years, will be released tomorrow in a trade that involves the release of 1,027 prisoners in Jewish prisions over the next few months. Many of these prisoners are behind bars because they orchestrated heinous acts against the state of Israel and its citizens, including the perpetrators of the following:
• The 2001 Sbarro restaurant bombing, which killed 15 and left 135 injured;
• The 1989 Egged commuter bus 405 bombing, which killed 16 and left 27 injured; and
• The 2002 Passover Massacre, which killed 30 and left 140 injured.
The deal was arranged by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and passed in an emergency session of Bebe’s cabinet with a vote of 26-3. It has also been praised by many world leaders, including the Palestinian Authority, President Obama, British Foreign Secretary William Hague, and French President Nicolas Sarkozy.
I feel for Mr. Shalit – the past five years must have been very difficult for him and I am sure he’s excited to be reunited with his family and friends in Israel. And I’m not saying that his life is not worth anything. But I cannot conscientiously support this deal. Knowing that these thousand-plus terrorists will be free in a matter of months – and free to commit future attacks on innocent civilians – is not a good feeling. They say that tigers never change their stripes. Well, terrorists never change their stripes either. They are sick human beings who deserve to be punished for their actions and locked away so they cannot cause any more harm. The only victor in this deal – other than Shalit – is Hamas. And rewarding a terrorist cell for their actions is never a good thing to do.