Deal for Gilad Shalit at least 10 days off

Wednesday, December 23, 2009 |  Israel Today Staff

This is not the first time media reports have suggested an imminent prisoner exchange between Israel and Hamas that would see abducted Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit finally freed from Gaza. And if reports this week are accurate, that deal won't be hammered out for at least another 10 days, if ever.

Few details of the deal being discussed are known, except that Israel is ready to free about 1,000 jailed Palestinian terrorists in exchange for Shalit. The deal is reportedly being held up by Israel's insistence that the more notorious of those criminals be exiled from the region. Israel is also refusing to release about seven of the terrorists demanded by Hamas due to the severity of their crimes.

Hamas on Wednesday rejected Israel's latest positions, but said it would continue negotiations in order to sway Israel and get its way.

Israeli organizations that represent the victims of Palestinian terror note that terrorists released in previous prisoner exchanges went on to kill 200 Israelis, and that Israel should not make the same mistake in its quest to win Shalit's freedom.

Palestinian media outlets have also acknowledged that Israel's willingness to release hard-core terrorists for captured or even dead Israeli soldiers is incentive to continue the kidnappings.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he is painfully aware of the dilemma.

"I face two vital principles - the desire to free hostages and the desire to protect Israeli citizens from an attack in the future," Ha'aretz quoted Netanyahu as telling concerned families of terror victims on Tuesday.

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