“The people want a new Gilad!” So went the menacing cry in Gaza this week, as tens of thousands of Palestinians celebrated the swap deal that will return Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit home in exchange for the release of over 1,000 Palestinian prisoners and terrorists.
If for many Israelis the Shalit deal inspired sober reflection about the painful price the country will pay for the life of just one Israeli, for Palestinians it proved yet another occasion to rejoice at the prospect of killing more Jews, seizing more soldiers, and inflicting further harm on the Jewish State. But the morbid glee that has greeted the return of unrepentant murderers on the Palestinian side is only one of the dark consequences of the prisoner swap. A closer look at those released in the deal – a murder’s row that includes many who have vowed to return to terrorism – provides a full measure of Israel’s sacrifice.
Among them are men like Abdel Aziz Salha. In 2000, Salha helped kill two Israeli soldiers who had made a wrong turn in the West Bank village of Ramallah. In a gruesome scene following their murder, Salha waived his bloodstained hands out the window of the police station where the soldiers had been killed, as triumphant crowds cheered the bloody deed. The sickening image became iconic of the savagery of the first intifada.
Also freed was Wafa al-Bass. In 2005, al-Bass was caught while attempting to carry out a suicide bombing in a crowded Israeli hospital. Al-Bass was being treated at the hospital, free of charge, for burns that she had suffered in a cooking accident at home, though that did not deter her from going ahead with the attack. When her attempt to explode her suicide belt failed, al-Bass ended up in prison. Today, al-Bass remains committed to the terrorist cause. Upon her arrival in Gaza this week, she said that Palestinians should “take another Shalit” every year until all Palestinian prisoners are freed from Israeli jails.
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