5 Reasons Israel Should Have Rejected the Shalit Deal

Ben Shapiro is a Senior Shillman Journalism Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center and Editor-in-Chief of TruthRevolt.org. He is the author of the new book "The People vs. Barack Obama: The Criminal Case Against the Obama Administration" (Threshold Editions).


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On Tuesday in Israel, kidnapped Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit was finally returned to his family.  Most Jews across the world celebrated – a man written off as dead had almost literally come back to the world of the living.  Columnists cheered Israel’s respect for human life in trading 1,027 terrorists for Shalit.  Politicians hailed the deal as some sort of step toward peace .

My heart is with Shalit.  My head is against the deal.  In fact, the entire situation turns my stomach.  Here, then, are five reasons that Israel never should have pulled the trigger on the deal – and what Israel should have done rather than making the trade.

Renewed Intifada. In 1985, Prime Minister Shimon Peres authorized the trade of 1,150 prisoners for three Israeli prisoners captured during the First Lebanon War.  One of the prisoners released was Kozo Okamoto, a Japanese Red Army member working with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, responsible for the massacre at Lod Airport in which 26 people were killed and another 80 were wounded.  Another was Sheikh Ahmed Ismail Hassan Yassin, who would go on to found Hamas and plague Israel for the next two decades before being killed by an Israeli drone.  That wasn’t the only problem – two years after the trade, the Palestinian Arabs launched the First Intifada, which ended in the death of 100 Israeli civilians and 60 Israeli security forces, with another 3,100 or so wounded.

This is the typical response of the Arab world to Israeli capitulation.  When Israel pulled out of Lebanon in May 2000, the Palestinians in Judea and Samaria quickly launched the Second Intifada.  When Israel pulled out of the Gaza Strip, Hezbollah started the second Lebanon War.

The World’s Willful Blindness. World leaders seems to think that this was a first step toward reinvigoration of the Oslo process.  UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon has already said, “With this release, it will have a far-reaching positive impact to the stalled Middle East peace process.”  President Obama’s press secretary said, “as regards [the] overall process, for us it’s always about each side taking steps that make it easier to return to negotiations instead of harder.”  And, naturally, anti-Israel former Prime Minister of Britain Tony Blair said, “I hope it also offers us a moment of opportunity, and not simply in respect of Gaza where Hamas are presently in charge, but also for a … revival of credibility in a peace process we really need to prioritize.”

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  • swanky

    none could have been as short sighted as this authour.. dont u realise that soldier's participation in palestine occupation is compulsory duty of all citizens of israel. so is isael's duty to save them if captured. moreover after the arab spring brought down dictators down there is no tolerance for violation of international laws as was evident in lebanon wars and flotilla attack. the world has changed but looks like the author is still stuck in the time warp..!!

    • zsqpwxxeh

      Swanky, but stupid. And incorrect on every garbled point.

    • ziontruth

      "…moreover after the arab spring brought down dictators down there is no tolerance for violation of international laws…"

      LOL. Made my Motza'ei Shabbat night. Genius here thinks the uprisings in the Arab world were anything to do with caring for international law. Unreal, what people can believe in…

  • Norman

    I am sorry to say, the man is right. The trade did more harm than good. And don't think that world opinion will like Israel any better because of it.

  • matt

    Mate I killed 1000 during Cast Lead, I released 1000, now we will arrest another 1000, liquidate another 1000, Cast Lead II if required and release 1000. It is the same 1000. It is a revolving door that achieves nothing, taking hostages is futile.

  • StephenD

    I repeat; take no prisoners. At next attack obliterate them. Let the world scorn while they are left to clean the glass of what was a potential society that had been given every opportunity to prosper and chose death instead.

    • aspacia

      Israel should executed every terrorist not wearing a uniform. That will eliminate all of them and the kidnapping problem will cease.

  • zsqpwxxeh

    The correct Israeli response would be to only trade one-for-one. An equivalent swap: one private gets one low-level Hamas guy of roughly the same age. This business of 1000 for 1 falls into the category of extortion and just encourages the next kidnapping.

    Sheer, blatant stupidity on the part of Israel. Its enemies are rejoicing. And people keep repeating that old stereotype that Jews are smart?

  • Ben

    There is the wonderful Russian show: the Nanaian boys` struggle where the one man skillfully perform the struggle of the two. Israeli administration for years demonstrate the opposition to Palestinians while fighting and appeasing their powerful leftists.

  • erp

    Only one reason is necessary and that is they've opened the door to more hostage taking and why not?

  • Don Kosky

    One of the worst foreign policy maneuvers since Nevile Chamberlain. Bibi needs to explain this one. I am a huge Bibi fan and friend of Isreal. These are the last days. (I’m holding out that maybe this was done on purpose so Isreal can reasonably expect another attack shortly then use overwhelming force and take out Iran and Hamas)

    • aspacia

      I do not believe in the end of days. Too many, for too long have erroneously made this prediction.

      • ziontruth

        The Jewish Sages say the End of Days will come when people no longer believe they will.

        Just a thought…

  • gtoop

    America is controlled by Zionists.
    That's why it supports terrorist Israel.

    • ziontruth

      "America is controlled by Zionists."

      Apparently, not strongly enough to stop excrement like you smearing yourselves all over these forums.

    • Martin K.

      I guess the "Jews" must spend a lot of money so that in the MSM (at least here in Austria) Israel is always attacked for wanting to be a state. What a clever ploy Jews who own the Media (I hear all the time) are encouraging others to trash Israel. When Egypt and Jordan from 1949 to 1967 occupied the Gaza Strip and Judea/Samaria (AKA W-Bank) why did they not implement the PEACE-PLAN all hail today as the solution, by creating the "Home-Land" so that Cairo-born Asser Arafat could finally return to his "ancient" Homeland?
      So my other question, does Israel have a right to be state?

  • aspacia

    Excellent article Ben. Why no argument for amending Israel's capital punishment law?

  • Arie

    Once Israel was different. The Entebbe raid was because we wouldn't relaese 40 terrorists in exchange for more than 280 passengers. At Maalot 17 children died because we wouldn't release 23. The change that came about with the Jibril exchange was only because "Queen" Lea Rabin's lap-dog assistant was the mother of one of the cowards taken prisoner by an old man with a pistol in Lebanon.

    • alphakilosingh

      Sounds right. This deal is a sure sign of a weakening Israel, which is tiring of the continuous war it has been fighting since last over 60 years. If it is really the case, it is a matter of time before Israel is consumed by its neighbors.

      • ziontruth

        "This deal is a sure sign of a weakening Israel, which is tiring of the continuous war it has been fighting since last over 60 years."

        Being tired has nothing to do with it. It's about a leadership that doesn't believe strongly enough in Jewish values—a political leadership, misguided by a treasonous mainstream media, that fears world "opinion" and international "law" far more than it values the imperative of Jewish survival. The Israeli Jewish populace at large would love to repay Kassam rockets from Gaza with thousands of dead Arab settler-colonists.

  • LindaRivera

    1,027 barbaric terrorists freed. Some of the released terrorists have publicly declared their intention of renewing terror attacks against Jews. Their inhuman lust for infidel blood is insatiable. Do Israelis not fear for their own and their family and friends safety that a majority of Israelis approve of the release of barbaric terrorists for ONE person? Or do most Israelis believe that they and their loved ones DON'T DESERVE to live in safety?

    Jews, you DESERVE to live in safety! Living in safety is a G-D given human right! Thousands of savage Muslim terrorists are released again and again. It must stop! Never again!

  • LindaRivera

    The UN Secretary General, Obama, UK's Cameron and other elites are rejoicing over the release of 1,027 barbaric Muslim terrorists. They claim it is good for peace. They must be referring to Islamic peace. In Islam, peace is achieved when a hated infidel nation is attacked, conquered and destroyed. The terrorists' release is a HUGE victory for global jihad.

  • Ivan

    Rescuing a son, is absolutely perfect. Not following the killers to their destruction is the biggest problem.

  • Dispozadaburka

    "Far from being some abstruse obscure point of theology, pidyon shvuym is called in the Talmud a "mitzvah rabbah," a great commandment. The Shulhan Arukh, a legal code compiled in the 16th century states, "Redeeming captives takes precedence over sustaining the poor and clothing them and there is no commandment more important than redeeming captives.." So while journalists, analysts and scholars have offered various motivations for the disproportionate deal – the effect of the Arab spriing, the institutional culture of the Israeli Army to never leave behind its wounded,
    the symbolism of Sergeant Shalit as everyone's child in a country of nearly universal military service.
    Noam Zohar (professor of philosophy at Bar-Ilan University states " But the underlying values – solidarity and the high value of every individual life- are part of our public ethos. And, in an unspoken little noticed way, a religious tradition, informed a real-world decision.
    Based on NYT oct 22 articl S.G. Freedman
    "A Mitzvah Behind the Price of a Soldier's Freedom

    • ziontruth

      Redeeming captives, a great mitzvah indeed. But don't forget the dictum of Rabbi Meir of Rothenburg, who ruled out, after the medieval German imperial authorities took him captive for an exorbitant ransom for his community to pay, that captives should never redeemed for too great a price, lest it encourage the enemy to repeat the practice of taking captives for ample gain.

      The ransom paid for Shalit's freedom can only encourage further abductions (God forbid). Should he have been left to rot, then? No. But now that he is free and the price has been paid, the duty of any truly Jewish leader (such that we still do not have, in our transgressions) is to end the threat of kidnapping—and as well as of terrorism in general—once and for all, by performing the mitzvah of expelling from the Land of Israel the entire population from which 100% of such evil acts emanate. Time for driving all our enemies out of our land!

  • 11bravo

    American soldiers know they are on their own short of a prisoner swap or the war ends with a civilized nation. Islam is not civil so all bets are off.
    I would have let shilats family know it is not going to happen-retry the PLO prisoners-give them the death penalty and execute them publicly. It is the only language the barbarians speak.

  • Hugo Schmidt-Fischer

    Shapiro lives in the safety of US, and lectures other people to sacrifice their captive soldier son. Since 1948, Israel has swapped soldiers for thousands of Arabs after all it campaigns. Still, it always remained victorious. I agree that Israel is too soft on the Arabs, There are many things Israel could and should do to get tougher on its neighbors. Retaliate, evict Arab squatters, take control of Gaza, apply capital punishment etc. Abandoning its soldiers should not be one of the options. Mr. Shapiro. Stop sermonizing and go serve in the Israeli army.