That’s the question asked at the end of a long Jerusalem Post report on the negotiations leading to the swap of over 1000 Palestinian prisoners, many of whom were responsible for the most heinous terrorist attacks which killed hundreds of Israelis, for captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.
It’s not for me to second guess the decision; I don’t have family members serving in the IDF and I don’t presume to downplay the importance of Israeli solders knowing that every effort will be made to retrieve them if captured or killed.
But if reports of some of the names included on the list are true, I also can’t help thinking about the families who lost loved ones in restaurants, night clubs, buses, and stores, seeing the killers of their children set free to what is sure to be a celebratory homecoming. Family members of those killed in the notorious Sbarro Pizza bombing (which was celebrated by Palestinian university students) already have petitioned the Israeli Supreme Court to try to stop the release.
The family of one Sbarro victim posted this statement (h/t IsraelMatzav) at the blog dedicated to the memory of their daughter who was 15 and eating pizza when the suicide bomber blew up the restaurant:
We received a phone call a few minutes ago from the director of the Department of Pardons at Israel’s Ministry of Justice notifying us of the official decision to release two prisoners convicted of carrying out the Sbarro restaurant massacre. The woman, Tamimi, will be exiled to Jordan. Her accomplice, Muhammad Douglas, will be exiled to chutz l’aretz” (Hebrew: means somewhere outside Israel’s borders). What the unspecified location means, we don’t know but it hardly matters. He and she will have their lives to live, despite having been sentenced in a court of law and after a full and proper trial to sixteen consecutive life sentences. And despite (in her case) having expressed pride in what she did, and an utter lack of remorse.
The Shalits were not the only parents.
And there will be more, as Hamas already has announced that its policy of kidnapping Israeli soldiers will continue.