Prisoner Swaps.
Why Terrorists Must Not Be Released

Published October 3, 2006.
Updated April 23, 2007

We all understand the pain and suffering of the Shalit family whose son Gilad was kidnapped by Hamas terrorists. He is being held hostage in exchange for Hamas and Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails. Israel appreciates the family will do almost anything to get their son back. We understand why his devoted parents are doing their best to keep his plight in the public eye.

The Agony of Captivity

Gilad himself is undoubtedly under painful distress in the hands of his terrorist captors. Not a word about his condition has been made public to this time. Nor have his captors released any information about his medical condition. Contrary to the norms accorded the Red Cross internationally, Hamas has refused all visiting rights.

Gilad’s capture and detainment is a crime against humanity. Yet Human Rights Watch and Amnesty have not condemned Hamas. If Israel were in the dock instead, imagine how active and strident the PR releases of these NGOs would be.

US: “No Negotiations With Terrorists”

The US does not suffer Israel’s qualms. They have officially declared they will not negotiate with terrorists and that’s that. Knowing this is not a negotiating card it is no wonder no American soldier has been kidnapped.

On the other hand Israel has given way before and will almost surely do so again. The Israeli public is unable to tolerate the tears of the distressed families on Hebrew TV. It is more than likely that this lone Israeli soldier will be exchanged for hordes of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails serving their guilty verdicts.

“Without Blood On Their Hands”

Israel is obsessed with the principle of ransoming its captives. Relevant historical references are to be found in the Torah and commentaries. And many actual instances have been recorded during the millennia of our exile.

However, it was only after the establishment of the Jewish State that our obsession for ransoming our soldiers or civilians was exploited by our enemies demanding the release of greater and greater numbers of terrorists. In bending to these demands Israel has agreed to release only those “without blood on their hands”, i.e. those who did not kill.

Particularly aggravating is the fact that we pardon the accomplices who plan, aid and abet. It is moot whether the planners and aiders are not more guilty that the killers. For knowing Israel will release them for not having blood on their hands uplifts their morale and encourages others.

In fact the planners clearly have more blood on their hands than the killers themselves. For the latter usually carry out just one operation, whereas the planners have generally designed several. (That is no doubt why the planners are high on Israel’s Most Wanted list.)

Monstrously Disproportionate Exchanges

The exchanges themselves have been monstrously disproportionate. We have gone so far as to release 1,000 prisoners for just one soldier! We have struck other disproportionate bargains to ransom two or three of our captives. In some instances we have exchanged hundreds of terrorists for the return of dead bodies of some of our soldiers!

The consequence of releasing these criminals is that many of them are given another chance to terrorize and murder our people. For to our sorrow (though not to our surprise) many of the returnees returned once more to practice their fatal skills.

“Don’t Release The Prisoners”

In his article “Don’t Release The Terrorists”, WorldNet Daily, 30 Sept. 2006, columnist Joseph Farah chronicles the murderous activities of 13 terrorists released in prisoner exchanges between the years 1984 and 2004. These 13 subsequently went on to kill 109 Israelis, overwhelmingly civilians. 494 more were wounded. No doubt our security services prevented many others from executing their malevolent plans.

Farah gives thorough details: names of each terrorist, when he was released, when he killed again and whom he killed. You may follow this link for full details: http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=51977

Farah does not say how many Israeli hostages were freed. Israel undoubtedly received less than 20 hostages in return.

Is It Sensible To Free Prisoners for Terrorists?

A glance at the math says otherwise. 13 killed 109 – an average of 8 persons per terrorist. 13 wounded 494, an average of 38 per terrorist. For freeing less than 20 of our own. Although Israel stuck to its principles, its citizens undoubtedly got the worst of these devilish bargains.

The families whose 109 loved ones were murdered and 494 who were injured by the released terrorists cannot be grateful to the Israeli governments for having recirculated the murderers and maimers. Nor can the people of Israel be pleased with the governments which negotiated these monstrously disproportionate agreements.

Had they foreseen the bloody consequences, I believe the Israeli hostages themselves might have cried out against so unfair a swap. Some of the families might even have asked the government not to include their kin in a swap which could lead to such fatal and terrible consequences.

We should also remember that some of the seriously wounded will never see or hear again; walk or talk; love or be loved. And many will spend the rest of their broken lives closeted where few except their caregivers will see them.

Recalling Israel’s Martyrs

If the Israeli prisoners who were freed could have foreseen these dreadful consequences might they too not have rejected the deals?

Might they not have martyred themselves as did Major Ro’i Klein,31, Deputy Commander Golani’s Battalion 51 who said the Shema prayer as he threw himself on a hand grenade in the battle for Bint Jbail (July28, 2006) to protect his men from certain death? He left a grieving wife and 2 sons.

Might they not have martyred themselves as did Hannah Senesh, Israel’s young poetess who was parachuted into Hungary in 1938 and, after severe torture, faced a firing squad rather than give up her secret radio code which would have betrayed her comrades?

Might they not have martyred themselves as did Sarah Aronson, the NILI girl, sister of Aaron, whose family in pre-state Israel was involved in spying for the British against the Turks? Sarah passed messages regarding Turkish troop maneuvers. The Turks broke the spy ring and tortured Sarah for three days. She committed suicide rather than betray the other members of the spy ring.

There were certainly numerous other examples in Israel’s war torn history of individuals who sacrificed themselves in similar fashion. Choosing death to save many others from this fate. The few for the many.

Our People Need More Security, Not less!

Of course we should negotiate the freedom of our hostages – in exchange for political prisoners or money, or for both. Or to provide the other side with additional benefits in a peace treaty. Or to seek a military solution.

But not to free terrorists or their accomplices.

Not to encourage terrorists to commit more murder knowing that they’ll be freed in a prisoner swap long before they serve their full sentences.

Knowing, what’s more, that they’ll be free to murder in spite of having signed a declaration never do so again.

Nor should live, do-it-again terrorists, be exchanged for lifeless bodies.

The prime duty of the government is to keep its people safe from terrorists.

3 Responses to “Prisoner Swaps.
Why Terrorists Must Not Be Released

  1. Paul Blumstein, Los Angeles Says:

    I’m all for releasing them… after they are given lobotomies.

  2. Max Yas, Victoria Says:

    You wrote a great essay, worthy of publication in a national newspaper.

    Did you see the movie “The Big Picture” filmed in an Israeli high security prison. Many were sentenced to multiple life terms for committing murder or guiding the suicide-killers. They show no signs of regret, are proud of what they did and would continue killing Jews given the opportunity. What their leaders unwittingly prove is that one Israeli is worth a thousand terrorists. Now Hezbollah wants to trade IDF body parts for a large number of convicted killers!

    Admitting that I would do anything if my son were a hostage, intellectually I have to acknowledge that releasing a large number of killers to redeem one Israeli is a bad deal.

  3. Paul Blumstein Says:

    We should certainly negotiate the freedom of our hostages for political prisoners or money, or for both.

    Jock replies: I like your solution, Paul, and would be happy to make a financial contribution in case of need.

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