Gilad Shalit, the kidnapped Israeli soldier will finally gain his freedom after he was hidden by Hamas for more than five years. Israel will hand over 1,027 Palestinian terrorists, cutting short the life sentences of 280 mass murderers responsible for hundreds of Israeli deaths.
DEBKA Among them are Israeli Arabs and East Jerusalem residents convicted on charges of terrorism as concessions made by Israel to clinch the deal. Of the 110 allowed to return to the West Bank and Jerusalem, 55 are members of Hamas.
All Israel’s security chiefs, from Defense Minister Ehud Barak, the Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz, the Shin Bet Director Yoram Cohen and Mossad head Tamir Pardo, approved the exchange, which requires Israel to pay the highest price every to secure the release of one soldier. It means that hundreds of arch-terrorists, high-profile activists, will be turned loose, although most face deportation overseas, some to Turkey, or to the Gaza Strip.
None is immune from punishment should they repeat their crimes, the Shin Bet Director promised. However, Hamas political leader Khaled Meshaal, who signed the exchange deal, vowed to continue efforts to kidnap Israeli soldiers to obtain the release of more prisoners. The Shalit abduction was not the last, he said: “We got 1,027 out of jail and we’ll recover the remaining 8,000 too.”
He was strongly echoed by radical Palestinian leaders in the Gaza Strip as they prepared a heroes’ welcome for the homecoming terrorists.