“Israel will receive updated and unequivocal proof of Gilad Shalit’s well-being and status,” Mr. Netanyahu’s office said in a statement, describing the deal as the result of an Egyptian initiative meant to build confidence ahead of the “decisive stages of negotiation” for Corporal Shalit’s release. The prime minister’s office added that the negotiations were “still expected to be long and arduous.”Hamas has held Shalit for more than 3 years following a Hamas raid into Israel that killed two Israeli soldiers and captured Shalit, who was brought back into Gaza. Since then, no one has seen or heard from Shalit, and Hamas demands have been consistent; they want Israel to release hundreds of Palestinian terrorists held in Israeli jails.
In Gaza, Mahmoud Zahar, a senior Hamas official, said the deal was “small and symbolic.”
“We are offering a report explaining the situation of the soldier in return for the release of 20 women prisoners,” he said as he entered a Red Cross office in Gaza City on Wednesday.
This is an absolute travesty, and only results in Hamas seeing the benefits of further attacks resulting in captured Israelis. Captured Israelis are bargaining chips to be used to secure the release of terrorists from Israeli jails, and worldwide humanitarian groups routinely ignore the gross human rights violations engaged by Hamas by denying the captured Israelis access to those human rights groups like the International Red Cross.
Israel, for its part, may find out the sad truth that Shalit may already be dead, which was a likely outcome from his captivity by Hamas.
There have been no calls by human rights groups calling for Hamas to make the humanitarian gesture of releasing Shalit; instead the onus has always fallen on Israel to undermine its national security to release terrorists in its custody to secure the release of Shalit. The video may yet prove inconclusive as to Shalit's well-being, but as noted above, it raises troubling issues over Israel's ability to protect its citizens from further operations that are designed to capture Israelis for use as pawns. This is a dangerous path Israel has repeatedly taken, and at each step the released terrorists are greeted as heroes, further reinforcing the notion that it is only a matter of time before the Israelis are overwhelmed by the Palestinians and their efforts to destroy Israel.