The “Prisoner Exchange” Absurdity

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The first of the atrocious massive releases of terrorists by Israel took place in 1985, when the National Unity Government of the Labor Party and Likud released terrorists in the “Ahmed Jibril Deal” to the PFLP terrorist leader Jibril.  Shimon Peres was the prime minister at the time.  1150 prisoners were released in exchange for three Israeli POWs, who had been captured during the first Lebanese War.  Many of the terrorists released resumed their careers in terrorism and led the “First Intifada.”

That moronic “deal” served as precedent.  Thereafter Israel paid in the currency of murderers in every “deal” in which captive Israelis were taken, and even in exchange for the release of the corpses of Israeli soldiers murdered by the terrorists.  The massive release of murderers naturally always served as incentive for the terrorists to kidnap more Israelis.  There is some serious doubt as to whether Shalit would have been kidnapped in the first place had it not been for those precedents.

In those repeated wholesale releases of terrorists, Israel always attempted to maintain a fig-leaf of self-respect, setting some limits on who could be released. Israel was reluctant to release murderers of children, or those who had actually pulled the triggers in killing civilians, or those involved in suicide bombings.

No longer.

The Netanyahu capitulation has at long last put an end to all pretense.  The very worst mass murderers of children and civilians have been released.  The litany of their crimes is too long and horrendous to be reproduced here.  You can see more details here.  But they involve those who murdered multiple members of the same families, those who placed bombs in the Jerusalem Sbarro pizza restaurant murdering children, those who lured a 15-year-old boy into the West Bank with Internet flirting and murdered him, and too many other murders.  Some of the atrocities sound more like events that took place in Nazi-conquered Europe than in the independent Jewish State.  A surviving member of the family destroyed in the Sbarro attack is in the news this week for having vandalized the grave of Yitzhak Rabin, whom he blames for the murders of his family and the release of the murderers.  (See this.)

As in all cases of mind-numbing stupidity perpetrated by Israel’s government, Netanyahu came in right on cue and defended the capitulation on grounds of “what choice was there?”  Whenever Israeli politicians choose the stupidest choice possible, they always insist there is no other choice.

What choice was there?  The choice was not to agree to the capitulation.  Just say no.

The released terrorists are already being celebrated by the Palestinian barbarians as heroes and role models.  It should not take long before the cost of saving the life of one Jew will turn out to be the deaths of many Jews.  The deal is popular because the Israeli public is familiar with the faces of Gilad Shalit and his family.  The people who will now be murdered or kidnapped by the terrorists newly inspired by the capitulation do not have faces.  Nor do their families.  Yet.

It was clear all along that there were other ways in which Israel and its government could have dealt with the Shalit kidnapping and captivity.  Israel could have assassinated 30 terrorists a day and announce that the targeting would continue every day until Shalit was released.  Or Israel could have kidnapped the family members of Hamas leaders and held them in captivity until Shalit was free.  Or Israel could have executed 30 imprisoned terrorists inside Israeli prison each day.

Better yet, Israel could have eliminated the terrorist “bait” that drives kidnapping in the first place — by executing terrorists.  No one has ever been murdered by a terrorist who has already been executed.  Every time anyone brings up the idea of capital punishment for terrorism, Israel’s politicians wring their hands and whine about how “unethical” it is, how it violates Jewish ethics.  All this coming from politicians who do not have the slightest idea of what Jewish ethics has to say about anything.  Suffice it to say that capital punishment is as fundamentally grounded in Torah and Jewish ethics as are bans against incest and adultery.  Jewish ethics explicitly prohibit abandoning other randomly chosen Jews to be killed in order to obtain the release of one Jew being threatened.

Netanyahu and his team may soon be learning how ephemeral “popularity” is and how capricious the throng can be.   It may not take long for the Netanyahu cowardice to reap what it has sown, in the form of buses exploding on Israeli streets or suicide bombing attacks on Israeli restaurants.  And those victims of Netanyahu’s capitulation will have faces and families.

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  • Abraham romano

    I disagree with you.

    The deal is insane. That is true but why the the jewish people has survived for too many years? What makes the jewish people diferent all over the world? Why we as a people will survive for centuries?

    Just one thing: kol israel arevim se lase.

  • BS77

    This shows the world that Israel values life….their refined and compassionate culture cannot be dismissed so easily by the vultures in the media….yes, there is danger in this exchange…but they saved the life of one of their own.

    • Nina

      Ha, ha. this will show the world what an ethical people the Jews are. So what? Will the world stop demonizing the Jews? I doubt it. Better not count on what the world thinks, and do whatever is good for the Jews.

  • Black Zionist

    You are 100% right. These lopsided prisoner exchanges only incite more violence. While I'm not Jewish, I am a strong Zionist and I support the Jewish people. But I must say, as a friend and a supporter, this path of weakness and negotiations is the path to another holocaust.

    Is it about time that Israel does what any other reasonable government would do facing the dangers that they face. If Hamas attacks again, they need to simply wipe them out. End of story. Kill all the leaders and offer the fighters two options: surrender or be destroyed. Do the same process with Fatah. Fatah and Hamas are basically two sides of the same anti-semetic, genocidal coin. Go back into Gaza, Judea and Samaria and build. To h*ll with the "International community." Where was the "International community" during the holocaust. Nowhere. What were they doing. Almost nothing. So why do so many Israelis care what the "international community" thinks?

  • Flipside

    This kind of backbiting criticism of an Israeli Prime Minister brings back the ghost of Yigal Amir.

    • SHmuelHaLevi

      Not only Mr. Netanyahu should carefully internalize the concepts the vast majority of those sensitive to the real world conditions.
      Murderers found guilty in court or in any way resisting must be executed, not released. Traitors must also face the noose.
      Ayone else volunteering to harm our people must also find the short end of a trail.
      We are happy the youngster is back, we totally rejects the means used to obtain his release.

      • Dave

        just ignore this guy, he craves attention.

      • Flipside

        Do you feel the same way about traitors to the United States who support Israel? Should we execute Jonathan Pollard?

        • Rifleman

          It seems he would. To me, that depends on if they're spying for enemies or allies, like Israel or the UK, and whether they cooperate with the ensuing investigation when caught. Pollard made the decision to not cooperate and should at least spend the rest of his life in prison, unless exchanged.

          • Nina

            Exchanged for whom, you?

  • P. David Hornik

    Steve, just one correction–"Hornik essentially claims that the deal was justified because only small numbers of Palestinian murderers released by Israel in the past reverted to terrorism and murdered Jews." That, of course, is unfortunately untrue and I didn't say it. Otherwise your points are valid arguments and I'll respond to them.

  • Yidal Amir

    Flipside is so stupid that I am amazed that he knows how to wipe his own backside.

    • Rifleman

      Who says he does?

    • Flipside

      I know how. With the Bible you wipe left to right. With the Torah you wipe right to left.

      • stern

        Everything you say and do is written and on everything, you shall be judged. Perhaps not now, but when the time comes for your just rewards, I would hate to be you.

        • Flipside

          Odysseus turned out fine. And I’ve got a better bow.

      • ziontruth

        Let's see you do that with the Koran, tough boy. And post it on the Nets via webcam, complete with full name and address to back up your bravado.

        • Flipside

          They’re all just books. I don’t have a preference for the Koran either. But there aren’t any Muslim wackos on here, only Jewish and Christian Zionist wackos.

    • William

      If they just execute the terrorists as soon as they catch them then there wouldn't be anybody to exchange and the problem is over.

  • Alexander Gofen

    100% agree with you Prof. Plaut.

    But why, why are israelis such idiots that "The release of the Palestinian mass murderers is popular in Israel at the moment" and at any moment?!

    As to Shalit, if I were him, I would not enjoy my freedom bought at such a price…

  • crackerjack

    The whole, goverment supported, "Free Gilad" campainge was aimed at portraying Shalit as a innocent boy scout with glasses who was abducted while on an weekend outing with his friends after helping an old lady across the street.

    Eventually Israel and the world forgot that Shalit was a soilder in an army in a coutry at war. Hamas wisely let Israel spin its PR campaign to the end and then set a price for the superstar of the campaign.

    Israel is a victim of its own PR.

    • Dave

      Actually Israel is a victim of unrelenting international bullying which aims to delegitimise it's existence. This is working incredibly well and most people now feel that, like the holocaust and Jew hate in general, the Jews have 'brought it on themselves' . This is nothing new. No other people have ever been blamed for their own demise except the Jews.

      • Flipside

        Actually, the Mayans, Aztecs, and Incas were too. So were the
        people of Sodom and Gomorrah, and the people of Delos. Jewish suffering us not unique. It is boring.

        • Dave

          I'm talking about today not thousands of years ago. Judaism has survived thousands of years of some of the worst persecution and yet still exists today which is completely unique. That is why people like you hate them.

          • Flipside

            You give them too much credit. I don’t hate them. I just hate their industry of self-lamentation.

        • ziontruth

          You're boring.

          • Flipside

            Not as boring as your offense.

    • ObamaYoMoma

      Israel is a victim of its own PR.

      And you are a useful idiot jihadist sympathizer.

  • montlasky

    You are the only one to mention capital punishment to date. At last. Well said!
    This will go a longway to reducing the prisoner exchange nonsense and rid the world of the dregs of humanity.
    Introduce capital punishment for terrorist crimes and watch the drop in numbers of the heinous crimes committed by these sub-human beings. Lives, time, prisoner swopping and Israels security would all improve drastically over night!

    • RobGinChicago

      And then cremate their remains and bury their ashes wrapped in pigskin.

  • C"H"Martel

    My book, "Satan's Trinity: Hitler, Stalin & Muhammad," will be available within the month and one may pre-order at For the first time in history "HSM" appear together on a book cover. The idea behind the book is to make headway against the ludicrous idea that Muhammad should be conjoined with any religious leader/founder. Once this comparison, driven by actual names, has been made then it must be attacked. Once the attack has been launched then the attackers will be forced to defend their attack. Since the attack is indefensible then the "religion" Muhammad (if he existed) founded will begin to be viewed as the scam it is. This book has been written under the principle of KISS. And nothing is simpler to understand than Hitler and Stalin…..and now, Muhammad. Thank you for your time…….C"H"Martel

    • stern

      Please go and shill for your book somewhere else. We really are tired of hearing about it here.

    • elihew

      Please, give it up Martel…

  • Rifleman

    I'm glad Trooper Shalit is home with his family, but I'd have a problem with a thousand terrorists being released in exchange for my life or freedom. I think I'd die content if a thousand terrorists were executed in exchange for my death or capture.

  • jacob

    In line with allowing for years South Israel to be bombed at will and instead of
    repaying in kind, chosing to pinpoint assassinations of terrorists on the way to
    bomb or in the act of by aircraft, which earned it the condemnation of the rotten
    UN and EU for "Disproportionate Reaction" , now is the exchange of 1,127
    terrorists with blood in their hands for one single soldier…?????.

    Wouldn't it had been more in line to have told HAMAS Israel would bomb
    every day a different target in GAZA, starting with the super shopping center
    it built until Shalit would be released ????

    Instead, this shameful deal is reached….

  • jacob

    This of Israel being so sensitive to world public opinion is truly stupid in the sense
    it doesn't dare to tell the world, as North Korea, China, etc, do, to do Israel a Jewish
    favor, that is, TO KISS ITS ASS…..


    • dartson

      The problem with your comparison is that North Korea is a dictatorship with a starving population and China has a huge territory with its own resources (+ alliance with a neighboring Russia), while Israel is a tiny patch of land with limited resources, surrounded by enemies from all sides. So getting into an open confrontation with the world and turning into another starving North Korea as a result of economic and security sanctions that will follow is not the best possible outcome for Israel. Having said that, I agree with the author that the Shalit deal was disastrous and there shoudl have been another way to get him released. I can only hope that the captured terrorists will be sentenced to death and executed from this point on.

  • guest

    I am happy he was freed. However won't this cause the enemy to grab a few more?
    Then ask for a few more thousand to be released?

    Never negotiate with terrorists, it just encourages them

    Just as easy Israel could have threatened to kill 100 each day till Gilad was released. They would understand that better.

  • Rev. Roy Trepanier

    The Palestinian Charter states that it's sole purpose for existing is to drive the Jews "into the sea", to utterly destroy Israel and the Jewish Nation. With that understanding, the argument that this trade will encourage more "captures" is neutered. The Palestinians are already, and will always, do all they can to capture more Israeli soldiers for barter.
    My prayer is that Israel will now do a little better PR work and let the entire WORLD know the value that they place on human life, IN GENERAL, (that "was created in the image and likeness of God"), and ISRAELI life, in particular. No other nation on earth has ever or would ever even consider such a deal. But then again they are not God's Chosen People. One of God's Chosen for 1,000 heathen, barbarian murderers sounds like a pretty good deal to me. I wonder why I never read, in any of these posts, about the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and His part in all of this. Just the fact that there are still Jews on earth are proof of His presence and protection for "the apple of His eye"……..Bravo Mr. Netanyahu.
    Rev. Roy….<><

  • Brenner

    Hamas says that it will kidnap more Israelis. And there is even technology to do it, for instance the Guardian newspaper reports that "sleeping gas" is used on the island of Sardinia to put rich people to sleep so they can be robbed. Same technology could overwhelm an entire Israeli Outpost and carry them off to some dungeon in Gaza.
    Lots of Plaut's ideas above though are impractical, except for executing terrorists. That might be a deterrent.

  • xlent
  • Ivan

    The release of Shalit was perfect love for a son. One's own son is worth far more than a 1000 other sons. For anyone to claim that's prefer the life taken of Shalit for the execution of the 1000, have no idea what it is to love a son. You may as well be a merciless Arab who'd sacrifice his own sons for a no-go cause, no-value purpose. If the 1000 are caught in misdeeds, the Israelis ought to have a shoot to kill policy. The 1000 were released, they could use the mercy received to show mercy.

  • LindaRivera

    Britain's Cameron: "I hope this prisoner exchange will bring peace a step closer,"
    UN Secretary General: "Ban Ki-moon sees peace process boost from prisoner swap deal."

    For Cameron and Ban Ki-moon, "peace" is achieved by increasing violent jihad against Jews in the releasing of over a thousand inhuman Muslim monster killers with blood on their hands.
    It is the violent, murderous "peace" the immoral Quartet seek for Israel.

    In the past, hundreds of Jews have been barbarically murdered by Muslim terrorists that Israel released from jail. It is unbearable to contemplate the suffering of future victims. G-D help them.

  • LindaRivera

    In Judea and Samaria, Muslims are chanting: "The people want a new Shalit"

    There is a radical difference between Muslim and non-Muslim culture and beliefs. Non-Muslims believe all murders are evil and when murderers are released, people are angry and disgusted.

    But in the Palestinian Authority, savage murderers of infidel Jews are regarded as huge HEROES by PA Muslims. Sports teams, streets, schools, city squares are dedicated to, and named after barbaric killers of Jewish innocents. Muslims are filled with joy over the release of cruel killers-they are celebrating and setting off fireworks.

    Non-Muslims regard murder as EVIL and the wicked breaking of G-D's Law. It is revolting and inhuman that these Muslims regard murder as EXTREMELY GOOD. The "peace" they are planning is a Second Holocaust of Jews.

  • LindaRivera

    The photo of every single one of the released Barbaric Muslim Terrorists who were released should be shown throughout the world. Their photos should be posted at all airports, railway stations, bus stations, movie theaters, supermarkets, post offices, parks, etc. People have THE RIGHT TO KNOW who these monsters are so that they can be on their guard against these violent, hate-filled terrorist killers.


  • elihew

    I'm sorry but IMHO, this is one of the most absurd deals (decisions) ever made….

  • ashvin

    the exchange is worth it.
    lets analyze the scenario : how many Palestinian prisoners were or will be released ? approximately 1000 . How much is 1000 as compare to 1.2 billion Jews haters ? do you believe that 1000 prisoners would have made a difference ? do you believe that jews haters exist only palestine ? ask a philipino muslim or an indian muslim about jews and they will tell you how jews are the lowest of human species ! the funny fact about it is that these people may have never met a jew but thy still will hate jews. so releasing 1000 jews haters to let them join the 1.2 billion jews haters is not a big deal. and the israeli boy is free now !

  • alphakilosingh

    The deal is a sign of a weakening Israel. The left wingers are getting stronger in Israel, and Israel is fatigued by this never-ending war.

    • ziontruth

      "The left wingers are getting stronger in Israel,…"

      No, not stronger, only more desperate. They're in a race against time—demography favors the religious Jews in Israel, who are hawkish to a man.

  • sooke54

    I think the real scandal here is that these unrepentant murderers weren't executed a long time ago.

    This is a deal with the devil that will cost many Israelis their lives.

    • ziontruth

      The real scandal is that, both in 1949 and 1967, the Arab enemy population wasn't completely booted off the Land of Israel following Jewish victory.

      In 1949 many Arab population centers were left inside the Jewish State "on good behavior"—rewarded for not having participated in the hostilities of the War of 1947–9. (Got that? Rewarded for having had second thoughts about setting out on the war for killing the Jews and taking their spoils. People might as well tell the police they'd thought of murdering someone but decided not to, and then demand a reward for that.) Those Arabs are now, after more than 60 years, a seditious minority of 20% in the pre-1967 Jewish State that is growing more and more impudent by the day, with Nakba commemorations on Israel's Independence Day and such stuff.

      In 1967 the Jewish State made things even worse, by leaving the entire Arab settler-colonist population in the newly acquired Judea, Samaria and Gaza. Instead of emptying those lands of the enemy population as befits the Jews as the only true indigenous Palestinians, the Israeli government maintained a military occupations as if we were colonists here (which is exactly what the anti-Zionists now accuse us of. Call it divine retribution for not acting like God says we should in Numbers 33:50–53).

      Removing the enemy population from our land would have prevented many of the debacles that have befallen the Jewish State ever since. And it will have to be done someday if the Jewish State is to survive. No two nations can reside under the same political roof.