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October 2, 2009
How You See It: Should Israel exchange prisoners?

Sergeant Gilad Schalit.

In the Middle East, an unusual exchange took place on Friday between Israel and the militant Palestinian organization Hamas, resulting in proof that an Israeli prisoner held for more than three years is still alive.

Hamas released a two-minute video showing Sergeant Gilad Schalit displaying a newspaper to show the date, September 14. He said he was in good health and that his captors were treating him well. He got up to show that he could walk.

Watch the video.

Before Hamas released that video, Israel freed 19 female prisoners who were greeted by hundreds of supporters as they returned home to the West Bank. Hamas is demanding freedom for hundreds of Palestinian prisoners in return for Gilad Schalit’s release.

Should Israel agree to release hundreds of Palestinian prisoners to secure the release of one Israeli soldier?

Tell us what you think in the comments section below. Please remember to be respectful and on-point in your comments. Malicious or offensive comments will be deleted and repeat offenders will be banned.

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Comments

74 comments

#74

It’s all about belief of how precious life is in the present tense.

#73

Israel has always eventually exchanged prisoners with enemy nations it had wars with. They’ve always exchanged dozens even hundred for one in the past.
But a rescue attempt would be worse than futile. Israel knows EXACTLY where he is, but also knows that the area is booby trapped and that any attempt will trip off a bomb that will kill everyone within 500 feet in every direction. This is not Hollywood.

As one Mossad guy said off-record, if Israel knew how to find the secret Syrian reactor near Iraqi border, they are not going to know where Shalit is being held@ They’ve known for a long time. There’s just no way to get him without killing him and the troops coming to rescue him.

#72

To VA #71
THERE IS NO BIG DADDY IN THE SKY!

#71

Gilad Schalit is a prisoner of war and should be rescued as such whatever that requires. One has to put oneself in his position and decide what one would expect Israel to do if it were you. Marines, I hear, don’t rest until they have rescued their own. Abraham rescued Lot. He is a prisoner of war. What crimes did the Palestinian prisoners commit? Jesus didn’t lose any of His men. David always asked God what he should do. I would ask God what to do and then do it.

#70

This site cannot accept what Jews say about themselves. Konchog was removed. Read Jewish authors Peter Schafer and Israel Shahak and website failedmessiah. If you can read the unexpurgated versions of the Talmud and the Kabbalah, do so.

#69

Israel should release convicted Palestinian prisoners only when:
(1) Fatah and Hamas relEase all their political prisoners and stop incitement;
(2) Syria release all its political prisoners and stops arming Hezbollah and Hamas;
(3) Egypt stops persecuting the Christian Copts and releases all its political prisoners;
(4) The Arab world acknowledges the rights of the FOUR MILLION ISRAELIS whose parents were JEWISH REFUGEES FROM ARAB LANDS.

#68

Israel treats Palestinian prisoners far better than the Palestinians or broader Arab world treat prisoners.

Just ask the members of Fatah who escaped from Hamas in Gaza and begged Israel to take them prisoner rather than send them back earlier this year. Ironically, Mahmoud Abbas refused to take them in, and sent them back to Gaza.

Palestinians in the West Bank who have been in Fatah jails, are wary of saying what they think to the Western press – but repeatedly have shown through their actions, that they would rather be in Israel, where there is some rule of law, than in the Fatah fiefdom, where even now, offending a clan means death.

#67

Releasing convicted criminals to ransom a captive will ensure more kidnappings.

#66

Do the right judgement regardless of religion and political views. It is always being extreme conflict due to religion fact but no one thinks like a human being.

#65

Hamas has treated Shalit much better Israel has treated Palestinian prisoners in particular and Palestinians in general.

#64

Unfortunately, Israelis and Jews generally have to deal with a lot of defamatory misinformation about themselves, from blood libels to stories about Jews and Judaism that are completely false. These are brought up to prejudice honest discussion of political issues. Ironically, all of the hate directed against Jews will only work to Israel’s benefit in the long term. The best analogy is to the Western (Wailing) Wall of the Temple, the last remnant of the center of Jewish worship after Rome destroyed the Temple and sent Jews into exile. The Muslims used it as a garbage dump for a thousand years in order to humiliate the Jews, but actually the Wall was preserved quite well in that circumstance to become again the center of Jewish worship in our day. The mounds of garbage in the form of lies and propaganda against Israel will similarly do nothing but help in the long term. It is an aspect of the mystery of Israel and the survival of the Jewish people against all odds. Never bet against Israel. You will end up a loser.

#63

To “Son” of J#62 : Arab may consider Jerusalem “the holy place”, but many people don’t. There is nothing holy about Al Aqsa Mosque unless you believe that Profit Mohamed has dream fly over Jerusalem.
Prove that He fly!!

#62

Jews may consider Israel “the holy land”, but many people don’t. There is nothing holy about Israel unless you believe in the Torah and Bible fairy tales. It is ridiculous in these modern times to kill, maim and displace a group of people based on old ridiculous fairy tales.

Prove that the fairy tales are so!
But you can’t and you never will!

#61

Gilad Schalit is a prisoner of war and should be rescued as such whatever that requires. One has to put oneself in his position and decide what one would expect Israel to do if it were you. Marines, I hear, don’t rest until they have rescued their own. Abraham rescued Lot. He is a prisoner of war. What crimes did the Palestinian prisoners commit? Jesus didn’t lose any of His men. David always asked God what he should do. I would ask God what to do and then do it.

#60

If the UNGA is not good enough let us see some of the UNSC resolutions that Israel has violated: Resolution 267, 262, 298, 446, 456, 605, 608 and the list can go on and on. I am willing to go down that road with you J. Garbuz

#59

Israel rounds up Palestinians routinely for the smallest of reasons and sometimes without any reason at all, and Israel has done this for generations. Their occupation of Palestine has made the Palestinian, both Christian and Muslims lives, quite miserable. Anyone would be furious having to live under the conditions the Palestinians have had to live. So, Yes, I think it would suit Israel quite well to release a few thousand not hundreds of Palestinians in exchange for one of their own. What press they would get from their ‘generous’ offer. After all, they will still have thousands of Palestinian men, women and children left to hold hostage.

#58

The Jews became independent!!!! acting on a 3000 years historical myth, why not others. J Garbuz, I would examine article 25 in the UN charter and see whether all UN resolutions are binding or not. But you have a clear mind set: Israel is above the law and the wolrld community is under it

#57

Yes, Israel should release hundreds of Palestinian prisoners in exchange for the release of one Israeli soldier, because practically all these prisoners should not be there in the first place!

#56

Son Of Israel Says:

Palestine is propaganda.
The Palestininians are boils on the
landscape of the Holy Land of Israel.

Give no quarter to (fake) palestine
or (fake) palestinians!

Jews may consider Israel “the holy land”, but many people don’t. There is nothing holy about Israel unless you believe in the Torah and Bible fairy tales. It is ridiculous in these modern times to kill, maim and displace a group of people based on old ridiculous fairy tales.

#55

Palestine is propaganda.
The Palestininians are boils on the
landscape of the Holy Land of Israel.

Give no quarter to (fake) palestine
or (fake) palestinians!

#54

Many of the Palestinians have no business being in Israel jails. Israel has made lifetime enemies because of the way they mistreated and humiliated Palestinians. Israelis have shot little children and old women. It continues to starve Gazans and to occupy and confiscate Palestinian land, violating international laws. Israel should free all Palestinian prisoners. I am sure Hamas would let Shalit go in a second if that happened.

#53

Yes, Israel should release hundreds of Palestinian prisoners in exchange for the release of one Israeli soldier. Palestinians have all too little leverage against the Israeli mega-power.

#52

To Son of Jerusalem regarding UNGAR 2649, November 1970 regarding the right of peoples to self-determination.

FIrst of all, as you probably know, UNGA resolutions are not binding, and not acts of law.

Second, this resolution was regarding colonies still seeking independence; the territories occupied by Israel are not considered colonies, but merely occupied until peace treaties are finally signed. Except for the Golan and East Jerusalem, Israel has not annexed them.

Third, there are many, many peoples who are today incorporated into the territories of UN member states that would like to be independent. Some prime examples are the Kurds, Tamils, Basques, Corsicans, Baluchis, Kashmiris, and even the Lakota Sioux here in the US.

If every disaffected minority group is allowed to have independence, there probably will not be a nation left intact. The world would disintegrate as more and more groups suddenly decide they want to separate.

#51

Ask the prisoners if they want to return to Gaza occupied by Hamas. When starving people ask for food Hamas gives them Iranian machine guns to chew on.

Hamas and Hezbollah plant guns in the middle of civilians, producing all the casualties, if some resist they are shot at.

Then Hamas leader, he lives in Damascus Syria, after using this brilliant strategy travels to Iran and declares victory.

Next Hamas and Hezbollah had plans to attack Egypt. They were stopped.

Worldfocus allows free discussion, but that is the free world. Are there any Arab media that allow free discussions? No, that is the islamofascist world
where freedom does not exist.

#50

Read comment #46 from T. Keefe. I agree with this comment, which is the truth. I completed two graduate study tours of Israel, Palestine and Jordan in both 2001 and 2002. All sides should release all prisoners, return all occupied lands and discontinue all hostilities. The only side any of us should be on is the side of peace.

#49

1. yes, Israel should release as many Palestinian prisoners, even those w/ blood on their hands, shalit needs to go back home.
2. If you strip down all the politics arguments here, this conflict (in my opinion) is about whose religion is ‘right’ and whose history version is the ‘truthful’ one.
3. If anyone really believes that based on this righteousness(by both sides) there is ever going to be any peace…

#48

Israel should release all Palestinia political prisoners. Their record of indiscriminate arrests of Palestinians is well known.

#47

Israel should release all the prisoners and live within the 53% of Palestine given to it by the UN when it created that state that has been such a greedy bully its whole existence.

#46

Yes, Israel should release hundreds of prisoners for one as Israel has killed hundreds to one. Concerning the region, America needs to take mythology out of foreign policy. Israel is an aparteid state and an occupying force. Grievances from all sides should be considered equally on a human rights and secular basis.

#45

Not necessarily.

If these situation(s) are
being observed in only
the [equivalent(s) of] Twilight…
should there not be
a “waiting” for what Night might
“bring”
before deciding on the final…

decision(s)?

#44

Arabs own vast amounts of land in many countries, countries that historically did not have Arabic as their language. Islam invaded the area and Arabized it. The name Palestine was given to the area by the Romans. Jews have a much longer history in the land. The present-day so-called Palestinians flocked to the area from all over. Arafat was Egyptian. They came for all the commercial opportunities available. They are far from innocent victims. They initiated the wars and hoped to annihilate the small Jewish community. Their situation is self-inflicted. They would rather die so long as they can kill Israelis. Israel will defend herself when attacked, despite the propaganda campaign initiated in the Muslim world abetted by Jew-haters and ignorant dummies in the West. Jews do not need to justify their presence or their ethnic credentials to live in their own land. The Arabs are a hodge-podge of nationalities who grew large through the sword and swept the Mideast and North Africa. The Nazis presumed to judge Jews on the basis of race and now some Arabs think they can do the same. Meanwhile the eternal Jewish nation is back in its homeland. The Arabs, still unwilling to compromise, still bent on destroying Israel, dream on their genocidal dream. Arabs want thousands released for one Israeli. This shows clearly their mentality. In reality, who is devaluing Arab lives?

#43

I would examine UNGA resolution 2649 and see whether people under occuaption have the right to resist or not

#42

Yes Israel should release all Palestinian political prisoners and any deal that sees any hostages, including the Israeli GI, released to their families is a good idea.

#41

The truth is that Israel has complied with international law more than any other country in wartime.That is the honest truth. The US killed thousands of times more civilians by aerial bombardment than were US civilians by the enemy in WWII. How many US civilians were killed by bombardment from Japanese and German planes and rockets? Maybe a dozen or so? By this false standard,the US military should have stood trial as war criminals in WWII for killing hundreds of thousands of civilians.

#40

Gene, the world knows the truth, but we have many cowards who are unwilling to speak truth to power

#39

False analogy. First of all, not many Jews resisted or could resist. Second, there is no automatic right of resistance, which is why the US was hesitant to cooperate with the Frence Resistance at first because France had surrendered and signed a peace agreement with Hitler. Israel, as the legal occupying power, had provided all what the laws say a legal occupying power must supply to the people under their occupation. It provided electricity, basic health services, food supplies, etc. The population was not being put into forced labor camps or being exterminated. Israel complied with international law for the treatment of people under legal occupation.

#38

Israel with the varied research that I can come up with other than “controled” news here in the US of A is the major cause of the conflict there. They have killed 5 times the Palistinians and what they do and the methods used are shameful and they should be brought up on war crimes. The have put up a wall and have taken all dignity from the Palistinians. It will not end until the world puts the light on them and calls for a stop of their aggressions. It’s not going to happen any time soon for sadly the world either does not know the truth or they look the other way.

#37

To ask the UN to prosecut Hamas, is equall to asking the Jews who resisted Nazie rule to stand trial. There is no comparison between occupation and resisting occupation

#36

I have not yet heard of the UN urging that leaders of Hamas to be prosecuted for their BLATANT and CONSTANT violations of the laws of war. It has all been one-sided against ISrael, because the UN is 1/4 Muslim, and to keep your UN job you have to try to placate the majority rather than being fair. It’s politics.

#35

The Geneva Convintions must apply to the Goldstone report too.

#34

There was no Israel before 1948 either

#33

Jews are a nationality;they are a tribal nation. Granted that the Jewish nation has had people who have joined the tribe over the centuries who don’t have bloodlines going back to the Israelite tribes of 2500 years ago, but then today there are native “indians” who are more caucasian and african stock. Tribes do at times bring in people who want to join it. Jews were (until 1948) a NATION in EXILE. Or a diaspora, if you want to use that term. Part of their native land was returned in the last century. So, yes, there is Right of Return law for Jews in ISrael, as there is for Irish in Ireland. And for Germans. And a number of other countries have laws that make it easier for ethnic kinsmen to have preference in immigration law to return and get citizenship.

#32

Mr. J Garbuz. The Geneva Convintions must also apply to the Goldstone report.

#31

Shalit is a SOLDIER who was in proper uniform with insignia when he was abducted from Israeli territory by the non-uniformed Hamas terrorists. He has to be given POW status, because he was dressed in accoradance to the rules of the Geneva Convention for LEGAL combatants, and not in civilian terrorist garb.

#30

Sorry, in my previous post, I meant to say the various people who lived in the so-called “West Bank” were NEVER a nation and certainly never had sovereignty over any of that land.

#29

There was no “West Bank” before 1948. That term was created by Jordan when it occupied and annexed Judah and Samaria and East Jerusalem after 1949. That name was in contrast to the East Bank of the Jordan river. Before 1947 it was all part of the Mandate being administered by Britain and slated to be part of the Jewish National Home, There were Jewish settlments that were forced to evacuate due to the war. And before WWI for 400 years it was all part of the Ottoman empire. All the various kinds of people who lived there, that now call themselves “Palestinians,” were all the subjects of the Porte, the Sultan of the Ottoman empire. Some may have owned private property there, but they were a nation with sovereignty over that land.

#28

EDR, before 1948 who owned the West Bank? Jordan or the Native Palestinian Arabs that you and your family came from Europe to Expell and settel in their homes? I am sure that this is misinformation to you too

#27

To Mr. M. Levy. The conflict in the Middle East is a bout the state of mind, because the Palestinians are still paying heavily for the Holocaust. Something they had nothing to do with, but nonetheless have been paying for, for the last 65 years

#26

I read the same misinformation over and over. The West Bank is not Palestinian land. It was Jordanian. No one said the Palestinians should have it when Jordan ruled the area. After Jordan attacked Israel in 1967 Israel fought back and took the land, which was historically part of Israel. Arabs are uncompromising people, especially when it comes to non-Muslims. This is evident when they demand thousands be released in exchange for one Israeli prisoner. If they feel they have some power they want to take advantage. Many Arab prisoners in Israel have committed horrendous, murderous acts. I do not believe these should be released.

#25

Indeed, there is occupation in that part of the world. The real occupation however, is the occupation of hate, fear, desperation, helplessness, and deprivation of basic freedom instilled by Arab leaders into the mind and heart of every innocent young man and woman throughout the Arab & Islamic countries.

Arab Israeli conflict is not about land. It is about state of mind.

#24

Cynthia, none is ignoring histroy more than you. The ISraeli Palestinain conflict did not start yestraday. It began when Zionis Jews agreed to be the new tool of colonialism in the Middle East and expeled more than 1000,000 Palestinian from thie homes. So please use your energey and begin reading

#23

If this exchange were to be accomplished, the zionist state would use this as propaganda to emphasize its supposed value of Jewish life, while simultaneiously to add to zionist dehumanization of Palestinians. This exchange, therefore, would do nothing to address the root of all this violence, ie, the illegal occupation of Palestinian lands and the brutal and criminal attempt on the part of the zionist state to ethnically cleanse the land of its rightful owners. All those political prisoners (children, women, and men) in Israeli prisons and torture chambers should be released. Shalit is not important to addressing this basic problem.

#22

I’m amazed how little attention is paid to history. Blockades and “occupation” have only occured when war was waged against Israel and it was openly threatened to that every Jew would be driven into the sea. Similarly, terrorists were murdering women and children on buses,in cafes, at weddings…the list goes on and on, before restrictions on travel were put in place. Any nation would protect its people. This culture of violence is spreading today and most victims are Moslems at the hands of other “Moslems”.

#21

Weren’t these women due for release in the coming months because their sentences were expiring?

#20

RJR, any Jewish person is welcome to Israel no matter what nationality. And you expect Palestinians, whose families are rooted there to find a new home in an Arab country. It’s unfair and inhumane to be so casual about people leaving their ancestral homes while inviting those from all over the world to come to Israel to ensure the demographics. As for the question of releasing Palestinians, I believe it’s the least Israel can do. They hold thousands of Palestinians without charges and kill 100 Palestinians for every 1 Jewish death, all in the name of the right to protect themselves from an population that has no military…and are subjected to blockades that paralyze their ability to travel, the list goes on. I would call your government an apartheid theocracy. Last I heard Gaza is still under a crippling barricade, and the IDF comes at will to destroy homes when one missle is fired by one extremist. Now call me an anti Semite, which I’m not, but that’s alway the response. I am against your government’s policies.

#19

Shalit is a war criminal and aprt of the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF), and must not be released at all until Israel releases all 11,000 Palestinians that have been jailed unjustly by an aprthaid regime. Pure and simple. There is no comparison between a PAlestinian who is fighting an occuaption and an ISraeli who is impossing one.

#18

While I suppose any sort of exchange and compromise between Israel and the Palestinians should be viewed as a positive step forward, the terms of this exchange seem to cheapen the value of Palestinian lives. Is the worth of one Israeli life equal to that of 19 Palestinians? Or a thousand Palestinians?

#17

I’m one liberal Jew who believes that we should not only wave a finger at Israel but all the other states that have large Palestinian populations.
How can Israel be expected to allow 6.7 million more Palestinians back into the west bank or Israel proper or both?
It’s a matter of demographics and politics.
The Islamic countries are using their Palestinian populations as propaganda pawns.
Whether they recognize Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state or not, they are holding their Palestinian populations as hostages in refugee camps, since 1948, not allowing full citizenship, education, property and employment rights.
A larger percentage of religious orthodox Muslim and Christian Palestinians have large families, than do religious orthodox Jews.
A two state solution, without attending to the demographic problem, will continue to raise the fear and possibility of future conflict.
Only a secular state of Israel-Palestine with economic incentives to control population growth above one child per family will really bring peace, in my opinion.
The world’s religions must stop preaching the encouragement of large families if the planet is to survive.
As for dismantling of Jewish settlements in the west bank, Orthodox Jews want a Jewish presence in parts of the west bank for historic biblical reasons.
There are 1 million Muslim and Christian Arabs living in Israel proper.
Why shouldn’t there be 1 million Jews in the west bank?
If Jewish and non-Jewish populations are maintained at equal numbers, a true democracy can exist.
Let Israel-Palestine be an example to the world.

#16

Israel must release most prisoners immediately unconditionally. It is illegally occupying Palestine and Illegally holding Gaza under siege. Most prisoners are being held under false accusations without due process. Israel is a rogue state and not a democracy–it is racist under International Law.

#15

Yes, I believe that Israel should release all of it’s prisoners, all who are incarcerated for political reasons. That would mean not only hundreds, but, thousands.

#14

Cynthia,
Arrest of this yung man is no different than what we did in Gantanomo Prison. We need to be even handed when it come to others.

#13

Yes! Thrilled that they kept Shalit alive and always hopeful that a release of all prisoners will lead to peace.

#12

Isaac’s comment …
@Nathaniel- As well, there is also the chance that they will not should there be a change in the relationship between the parties. Right now, it is a war, just like any other war, but without the legality of title…
@Cynthia-Very likely the reason for no visits for the young Jew, is that should the IDF know the whereabouts of this young man, they would conduct a military ‘operation’ to free him.
@ALL-The rocket attacks, while doing more harm than good, are like a BB gun verses an AR15.
There is absolute proof that Israel used the internationally illegal weapon of phosperous when they attacked Gaza.
One can go on and on about what one does to infinitum.
Put the events of the past seventy years into perspective and it still comes down to the same issue; Israel, the Zionist entity of Israel, has violated the U.N. resolution, (can’t remember ther # now), by continually and without rest, encroached on what was supposed to be Palestine, committed numerous crimes that have resulted in many U.N. resolutions and then ignored them as they continue down the path of destruction and occupation.

#11

Cynthia, but there is still occupation, and new settlements are being build on Palestinian land right now , wile you and me are talking. also during the last war in Gaza , don’t forget Israel killed more than 1500 people mostly kids and woman!!!
Peace can not come only from one side, for peace are needed to parties okay. And in my opinion i believe that Jews for some reason are against the peace, and i can tell you the reason.
The reason is that if they commit to peace , that they will have to give back the land that they took to Palestinians.

#10

Yes-the young man has been held all that time with no proof of life, no Red Cross visits-proof of a barbarous culture.Israel’s prisoners have family visits and all kinds of communication. There is no occupation of Gaza anymore, yet rocket attacks continue on civlilians every day. Egypt also has a closed border with Gaza as they are also afraid of terrorist infiltration.

#9

I thing Joel Cohen has right, it really does not matter if Israel releases 100 or 200 or even more prisoners.
Then have ability to arrest more than they have releases every time.
I disagree with Joel on the other point. I believe that killing Sgt. Shalid is bad idea, it is inhuman and being my self Muslim, i deeply believe that that is even against the teachings of Islam.
Palestinian should show to the world that they are not killers and that they are the one who are getting killed on daily basis only because that want to live free in their land.
Also i believe that US media should tell the truth American people on what really goes on, on that part of the world.

#8

Yes, certainly. And while their at it, they could lift their barricade of Gaza and free those people to receive food, medical supplies and other necessities of life.

#7

If Israelis releae hundreds of Palestinian prisoners to secure the release of Sergeant Shalit, there is a good chance that in future, Hamas will take more and more Israeli soldiers and civilians captive to use as bargaining tools.

#6

Yes, and more. It is essential for Isreal to truley start making an effort toward compromise. It may only be a tiny step, but it would at least be a step.

#5

What a stupid question that is? What is the point behind such a hallow question? Couldn’t you come up with a better, and more intelligent question! And you call yourselves journalists.

#4

I am hearten by the fact that Sergeant Shalit is alive and well after three years in captivity. I do not think that it is beyond the pale for Israel to go ahead with this prisoner exchange or Shalit.A War has been fought because Israel decided to get tough and that didn’t lead to his release; So why not give this a chance? I am happy that Sargeant Shalit is still alive and well and I cannot begin to imagine the joy and sorrow his family must be feeling at this moment.

#3

You are asking if the occupier of a people should release hundreds for the sake of one Israeli. The occupier has over 9,000 Palestinians (500 women) in prison for rebelling vs their occupation. Yes, yes.

#2

Yes. Palestinian extremism thrives on belief that they haveno hope. I don’t believe such an exchange would increase chances of more conflict as much as reduce tension and increase good will

#1

Yes. It will help move peace efforts forward.

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