One needs not be a commentator in order to guess what Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
would have said about any other government – let’s say one led by centrist and leftist parties – that would have secured such deal for abducted soldier Gilad Shalit’s
Netanyahu, who in the past faced the international community and taught it in a loud and clear voice that terrorism should be fought against without compromise, and that Israel is a democratic, life-seeking state that must never capitulate to terrorism, is now capitulating to terror himself.
With his decision to release 450 terrorists who murdered some 599 Israeli civilians, and by agreeing to free Arab Israelis and east Jerusalem Palestinians, the prime minister crossed all the red lines set by Israeli prime ministers for generations.
Hamas comes out of this deal as the big winner. The organization’s leaders proved to the Palestinians in the territories and to Arab Israelis as well that they are the exclusive representatives of the Palestinian issue. Arab Israelis, the citizens of this state, will be sure from now on that should they carry out a terror attack, Hamas would secure their release.
We should say this loudly and clearly: From now on there is no significance whatsoever to Israel’s legal establishment rulings regarding Arab citizens.
Netanyahu’s decision to approve the deal also contributes to the Palestinian Authority’s destruction. After Israel’s prime minister portrayed Mahmoud Abbas as an empty vessel and the PA’s security agencies as collaborators with Israel, it’s not difficult to guess that will happen once elections are held in the West Bank and Gaza Strip – Hamas shall defeat Fatah.
On Sunday, once the names of the terrorists to be released in the framework of the swap will be fully released, Netanyahu would do well to face the cameras and tell Israel’s citizens how he intends to protect them from this day onward. Notably, the history of terrorist releases in swaps proves that some 60% of them return to terrorism.
Netanyahu’s spokesmen tried to explain that he, more than Olmert before him, managed to remove the “heavyweight” murderers who became the symbols of the Palestinian national movement from the list. They also tried to calm us by stressing that some of the freed murderers will be banished beyond the West Bank. However, every junior intelligence officer knows that in the technological era we live in, one can prepare bombs, dispatch terrorists and mastermind attacks via the Internet too.
Netanyahu is in love with the word “leadership.” He says that he took a “leadership decision” and everyone cheers him on. However, the prime minister’s public career should have taught him that public opinion and polls are like dust in the wind. We should see what he says in a year, when the gates of hell open for Israelis, heaven forbid.
Indeed, our heart goes out to the Shalit family. There is no Israeli who is not moved and impatiently waiting for the moment where Gilad returns to his family. Yet this is precisely the crux of the matter: We are allowed to be moved. Yet the person who wants to be a prime minister for another term is expected to conduct himself differently.