Netanyahu: Israel Can't Pay Any Price for Shalit

Published: July 1st 2010
in News » Israel

PM Benjamin Netanyahu

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made a public statement Thursday regarding the negotiations for the release of kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit.


Netanyahu began his statement by explaining that Israel was always willing to pay a heavy price for the release of its kidnapped. He brought forth the examples of the Jibril Agreement of 1985 during which 1,150 Palestinian prisoners were released in exchange for three Israeli prisoners, and the Tannenbaum swap of 2004 in which approximately 400 prisoners were released in exchange for kidnapped Israeli businessman Elhanan Tannenbaum.


Netanyahu emphasized that in both cases the prisoners who were released returned to terrorist activities. The Jibril agreement prisoners went on to form the hard core leadership of the first Intifada which broke out at the end of the 1980s. The prisoners who were released as part of the Tannenbaum agreement, said Netanyahu, went on to be involved in terror attacks in places such as Tel Aviv, Netanya, Beersheba and Dimona. All in all 27 Israelis were killed in terror attacks committed by prisoners released as part of the Tannenbaum agreement.


The Prime Minister went on to describe four steps which he has taken since assuming office last year: The first was the appointment of Hagai Hadas as the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Shalit case; the second was agreeing to involve an experienced German mediator in the negotiations for Shalit’s release; the third was the attainment of the video in which Shalit was seen speaking, walking, and functioning both cognitively and physically (a move which Netanyahu explained was meant to “determine Gilad’s condition and also to reinforce international awareness to Hamas’ direct responsibility for his welfare and release”; the fourth and perhaps most important step was Netanyahu’s agreement to a prisoner swap deal which “would return Gilad Shalit but at the same time would protect the security of Israeli citizens.”


The prisoner swap deal to which Netanyahu agreed involves the release of 1,000 prisoners, whose names were supplied by Hamas. Netanyahu explained that two principles were adhered to while accepting this deal: that released prisoners defined as dangerous by security forces would not be allowed to return to the areas of Judea and Samaria from where they would have easy access to major Israeli cities, and that those prisoners who were behind terror attacks that killed a large number of Israeli civilians would not be released, as these prisoners would strengthen Hamas’ leadership and inspire a new wave of terror attacks.


Netanyahu said that he agreed to release 1,000 prisoners “with a heavy heart and while keeping these two principles.” He emphasized that until now, no answer has been received from Hamas regarding this offer. Furthermore, in the last few days Hamas’ spokespersons have toughened their stance publicly regarding the terms of the deal. “I believe that Hamas is wrong, but the decision is in its hands,” said Netanyahu.


Related articles: (Benjamin Netanyahu, Gilad Shalit, Noam Shalit, Hamas)

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