While Gilad Shalit's family celebrates the signing of the deal that aims to bring him home after five years in captivity, families of terror victims say that the prisoner swap agreement means "a surrender to terrorism" and warn against its heavy price.
"I have been fighting this deal for five years, and I staunchly oppose the release of terrorists, murderers and convicts," said Yossi Mendelevitch, whose son was killed in a terror attack in 2003. "(...) In fact, Israel is surrendering to a terror organization by freeing killers."
- Shalit deal to include 1,027 security prisoners
Mendelevitch's 13-year-old son, Yuval, was killed in a bus bombing in Haifa in 2003.
"We can replace our blue and white flag with a white one, to symbolize its surrender," he added.
Yossi Mendelevitch (Photo: Yaron Brener)
Mendelevitch said that instead of placing "heinous murderers" in prison for the rest of their lives, "the government is releasing them. They won't go back to crocheting or raising tomatoes, they will go back to what they do best – terrorizing Israel."
He warned that next time, terror groups will demand the release of 8,000 prisoners, not 1,000. "The never-ending surrenders have caused Israel to lose its deterrence power," he said. "While these words are being written, Hamas is already planning the next abduction."
'This is a victory for Hamas'
Another father of a terror victim, Ron Kerman, joined Mendelevitch's assertion that the prisoner swap deal is dangerous for Israel.
"While I am happy for the Shalit family, I fear for the lives of the citizens of Israel," said Kerman, whose 17-year-old daughter, Tal, was killed in the same bus bombing as Yuval Mendelevitch. "I don't buy the politicians' promises… I am afraid that more people will join my situation as result of the Shalit deal, not to mention the… morale boost that Israel's government, headed by Benjamin Netanyahu, has given terror organizations."
Moshe Har Melech, who lost his son, Shuli, in a shooting attack in 2003, claimed the deal is shortsighted.
"This is a victory for Hamas," he said. "The measure won't bring peace, but the exact opposite.
"(…) I wonder how many of the five terrorists who killed my son will be released in the deal," he added. "I cry for all those who don't know yet that they are going to be bereaved parents… This is not an act of high Jewish value but a general loss of our way, and a continued moral decline."
Rami Nahum, whose son, Nir, was killed in a bus bombing in 2002, spoke out against the measure as well. "Not at any price," he said. "This deal makes way for more deals. We cannot release killers at any price."
Alexandra Shevchuk, whose husband, Sergei, died in the same attack, is of the same opinion.
"I am a mother, too. I have a 16-year-old son, I know what a mother's love is, and what it means to wait for your son," she said. "But I also know that terrorists who are freed will return to murder."
Maor Buchnick contributed to the report
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