Cabinet majority to ratify 'terrorists for Gilad' tradeBoth JPost and Arutz Sheva are reporting that a majority of the cabinet will vote in favor of exchanging hundreds of 'Palestinian' terrorists for kidnapped IDF corporal Gilad Shalit. JPost reports that according to a Likud source, no more than five ministers are expected to vote against the deal, and Arutz Sheva names four of them: Benny Begin, Uzi Landau, Yuval Steinitz and Moshe ("Boogie") Yaalon. JPost reports that Likud's Silvan Shalom and HaBayit HaYehudi's Daniel Hershkowitz may also vote against.
JPost implies that more ministers may vote against the deal if Fatah Tanzim leader Marwan Barghouti and/or Ahmed Sa'adat, the leader of the group that assassinated Minister of Tourism Rechavam Ze'evi, are included in the list.
Arutz Sheva reports that five ministers from Labor and four from Shas are expected to vote in favor of the deal.
Some parties whose electorates would oppose the deal are attempting to gain concessions on unrelated matters in return for their support.
Shas officials called on Netanyahu on Monday to release Jewish murderers of Arabs at the same time he released the terrorists freed as part of the deal. Likud MK Danny Danon said he would lobby Netanyahu to insist on the United States releasing Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard as a goodwill gesture upon completion of the deal.Sorry folks, but much as I would like to see Pollard released, I'm not willing to endanger Jewish lives for his release any more than I'm willing to endanger them for Gilad Shalit's release. And there's little doubt that this release will endanger Jewish lives.
"If Netanyahu intends to release hundreds of mega-terrorists, the US, which would endorse the deal, must release Pollard, who has sat in jail more than any terrorist who will be released in the deal," Danon said. "President [Barack] Obama should show good intentions to the Israeli public and not only issue one-sided demands."
In response to the rumors circling the Knesset regarding a prisoner exchange, the National Union's Knesset faction held a press conference Monday afternoon during which they called on Netanyahu to reveal the findings of the Shamgar Commission. The commission, which was tasked with examining the implications of prisoner exchanges, has never published its findings, but National Union Chairman MK Ya'akov Katz said that he knew that the commission had warned against prisoner swaps.Haaretz is reporting that Barghouti (pictured above) will be one of the terrorists released. But the list of those to be released has not yet been made public. The Almagor terror victims organization was to file a petition with the Supreme Court Tuesday morning asking that the list be made public. Typically, the list is made public at the last minute by which time it is too late for a public outcry to develop and too late to do anything to stop the release.
"Imagine what the outcome of the Second Lebanon War would have been if the Winograd Commission had delivered its findings in advance of the war. How prepared we would have been," he explained. "Now, we have that opportunity with the Shamgar Commission. Netanyahu must reveal the findings before we make any decision to release terrorists, and he must have a debate in the government and in the Knesset before he reaches any conclusion."
MK Uri Ariel emphasized that the government was misleading the public in arguing that there was no other alternative to releasing prisoners. Israel, he said, could put pressure on Hamas through restricting the privileges of Palestinian security prisoners held in Israel, or through limiting Gaza's power supply or water supply, both of which are provided by Israel.
"What the prime minister and defense minister are doing is simply caving in to public pressure," said Ariel, arguing that the role of Israel's leadership was to provide "real bravery and leadership."
MK Aryeh Eldad cited Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) statistics showing that 30-50% of released terrorists eventually return to terror, and accused the current government of crossing "red lines that even [former prime minister Ehud] Olmert was not willing to cross."
Eldad, who is his faction's representative on the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, complained that in the course of Monday's briefing with National Security Adviser Uzi Arad, he discovered that the National Security Council "was not asked and did not submit an opinion regarding the impact of the release of terrorists" as a result of any possible deal for Schalit's release.
UPDATE 11:32 AM
Arutz Sheva is reporting that both Barghouti and Sa'adat are included in the deal.
Meanwhile, Haaretz has a quote from Netanyahu that makes me wonder whether he really understands what this is about:
Netanyahu says the decision "is between two poles: on the one hand, the desire to take care of our soldiers and bring them home, sometimes at the cost of endangering lives - a very important value for our people and in Jewish tradition - and on the other, avoiding the encouragement of future abductions."The issue of endangering (civilian) lives belongs on the other side of the equation. When Netanyahu says "sometimes at the cost of endangering lives" he means endangering soldiers' lives in rescue missions or to save other soldiers in the heat of battle. The real issue here is how many civilians will God forbid die as a result of this decision.
To drive that point home, there ought to be a demonstration outside the Shalits' home every time one of these released terrorists is involved in another terror attack (and believe me - precedent indicates that it will happen). The real question here is how many Israeli civilians - how many Israeli children - will die (God forbid) to bring Gilad Shalit home. When put in those terms, the answer to what we should do should be obvious.