I've warned about this kind of move for years, but Israel has gone ahead and has swapped 20 Palestinian women for a video that purporting to show that Gilad Shalit is still alive. The 20 women include terrorists, including one that attempted to use her pregnancy to hide explosives.
So who was released? Well, 14 of the 19 were convicted of attempted murder. The discrepancy in the number of Palestinians released is due to the fact that a 20th woman was added to the release.
The released women include those who attempted to stab Israeli soldiers at checkpoints, attempted suicide bombings while pregnant, and various other acts of violence. Israel's only possible reason for carrying out this swap is that many of these prisoners would have been released when their sentences were up within the year. That's the only possible justification, and Israel's leadership must have been convinced that cutting short their sentences slightly to get proof of life was more than justified.
The video purportedly shows that Shalit is still alive and holding a newspaper from September of this year.
Palestinian news agency, Maan, reported that Gilad Shalit read sections from the Gaza-based "Falasteen" newspaper from September 14 on his video transferred to Israel is exchange for the release of female Palestinian prisoners. Maan also reported that the video showed Gilad Shalit standing on his feet for a few seconds in order to prove that he is in good health. According to the report, the soldier is shown dressed in an IDF uniform with a yellow background behind him.I'm surprised that Shalit has managed to stay alive in the clutches of Hamas, but he's worth that many more terrorists alive than dead. After all, Hamas must realize that they can swap Shalit for hundreds of terrorists held in Israeli jails, but would get far fewer had he died in captivity.
The news agency Palestine Today reported that Shalit appeared on the video reading a recent news item in Arabic from one of the Palestinian newspaper, according to Palestinian sources in the know.
A source that watched the video said a clean-shaven Shalit can be seen talking to the camera, and that he looks healthy and sounds coherent. The source said it was clear that his captors had prepared him for the video and went to great lengths to make sure he looks well and healthy.
Hamas has done all it can to pry as many terrorists from Israeli jails as possible, and it's been an excruciatingly painful situation for the Shalit family to endure. There has been little international pressure on Hamas to release Shalit as a humanitarian gesture, and instead most of the pressure has been on Israel to make concessions to release prisoners in exchange for a video.
It's also quite telling that Hamas feels that a video is worth 19 people, or that Shalit alive is worth 1,000 Palestinians. That's telling as to how much they value life. It's also telling just how much Israel wants to reunite Shalit with his loved ones that they'd even consider an offer to get a video showing proof of life in exchange for 19 prisoners.
Hamas is busy cheering the release of the 19 - yet another propaganda victory for Hamas and Ismail Haniyeh.
Daylife has photos of Haniyeh cheering alongside family members of the released.
Shalit has been in captivity for 1,194 days.
Added a photo still from the video posted at the Jerusalem Post.