The State of Israel is prepared to pay a heavy price for the release of Gilad Shalit but is unable to say "at any price". This is the truth and I state it here.
1 July '10
Four years have passed since Gilad Shalit was kidnapped and the people of Israel are united in their desire to see him return safe and sound to his family, to his home, to his country.
We all want his return. We all have a strong desire to see Gilad return to his parents, Aviva and Noam; to his grandfather, Tzvi; to his sister, Hadas; to his brother, Yoel.
Anyone who has met the members of the Shalit family cannot help but think to themselves: this could have been my son, my brother or my grandson. Therefore, the family's reaction is natural, as is the desire to help them, to support them, to make your voice heard are also natural and understandable to all of us, including myself.
The State of Israel has always been prepared to pay a heavy price for the release of its hostages. I know this price firsthand. I lost my brother Yoni, of blessed memory, during the operation to free the hostages of the Air France airplane in Entebbe. I myself was wounded during the operation to free the Sabena airplane hostages at Ben-Gurion airport.
In circumstances such as these, and in other circumstances such as in the attempt to rescue the kidnapped soldier, Nachshon Wachsman of blessed memory, there was an operational possibility – and the State of Israel did not hesitate to endanger its finest sons to rescue its prisoners and hostages.
In other circumstances, the State of Israel decided on several occasions to release terrorists and murderers in exchange for releasing Israelis.
The most famous deal was the Jibril deal of 1985, in the framework of which 1,150 terrorists were released. Almost half of them returned to engage in terror and to murder dozens of Israelis at their own hands.
Moreover, those released in the Jibril deal constituted the solid nucleus of the leadership of the first intifada, during which hundreds of Israelis lost their lives in suicide and terror attacks.
We should be able to say: "It was over 25 years ago, times have changed", but there were more instances, for instance, the Tannenbaum deal in January 2004, in the framework of which 400 terrorists were released.
Here is what happened as a result of that deal:-
On January 27, 2004, Hamas activist Musaab Hashalmun was released as part of the Tannenbaum deal. On August 31, 2004, only half a year after his release, he was involved in a simultaneous terror attack on two buses in Beersheba. Sixteen Israeli citizens were murdered and more than 100 wounded in these terror attacks.
Others released in the Tannenbaum deal led to the murder of:
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