Half of the Terrorists Freed by Israel Have Returned to Terror

Currently, Hamas is holding hostage the bodies of two IDF soldiers killed in the 2014 Gaza war, along with two mentally disturbed Israeli civilians. Jerusalem is reportedly considering releasing Palestinian prisoners in exchange for the two hostages and the soldiers’ remains. But, argues Nadav Shragai, experience has shown the imprudence of such exchanges:

Since 1985, Israel has released thousands of terrorists as gestures, exchange deals, and in the framework of peace plans. About half of them resumed terrorist activity. Thus far, hundreds of Israelis have been murdered and some 3,500 wounded in attacks committed by these former prisoners. The so-called Jibril agreement of 1985 freed 1,150 terrorists who became the backbone of the first intifada, [in exchange for the release of three soldiers who had been captured during the First Lebanon War]. According to a study the Defense Ministry ran on a sample group of 238 of those prisoners, 114 were confirmed to have gone back to terrorism.

Half or more of the 7,000 terrorists released following the Oslo Accords reintegrated into Palestinian terrorist infrastructure and took part in the second intifada. . . . The former Shin Bet director Yoram Cohen, who supported [the 2011 deal that obtained the release of Gilad Shalit in exchange for 1,027 prisoners], stated frankly at the time that, based on past experience, some 60 percent of prisoners released would go back to terrorism and 12 percent would wind up back in prison.

Following Shalit’s release, the Israeli government convened the Shamgar commission to study the issue. It recommended, inter alia, that “a captive Israeli soldier should be freed in exchange for no more than a handful of terrorist prisoners, and that a body of an Israeli casualty should be ‘redeemed’ for one terrorist’s body.” Shragai also cites additional suggestions from the reserve general and Knesset member Uzi Dayan:

The first choice is to free captives and hostages through military means, by force—direct or indirect—[or] if there is an operation in Gaza, even by abducting [senior] Hamas members. . . . That’s what we did in the 1970s when we captured Syrian generals to free three pilots who fell into Syrian captivity.

Read more at Israel Hayom

More about: Hamas, Israeli Security, Palestinian terror, Protective Edge


While Israel Is Distracted on Two Fronts, Iran Is on the Verge of Building Nuclear Weapons

Iran recently announced its plans to install over 1,000 new advanced centrifuges at its Fordow nuclear facility. Once they are up and running, the Institute for Science and International Security assesses, Fordow will be able to produce enough highly enriched uranium for three nuclear bombs in a mere ten days. The U.S. has remained indifferent. Jacob Nagel writes:

For more than two decades, Iran has continued its efforts to enhance its nuclear-weapons capability—mainly by enriching uranium—causing Israel and the world to concentrate on the fissile material. The International Atomic Energy Agency recently confirmed that Iran has a huge stockpile of uranium enriched to 60 percent, as well as more enriched to 20 percent, and the IAEA board of governors adopted the E3 (France, Germany, UK) proposed resolution to censure Iran for the violations and lack of cooperation with the agency. The Biden administration tried to block it, but joined the resolution when it understood its efforts to block it had failed.

To clarify, enrichment of uranium above 20 percent is unnecessary for most civilian purposes, and transforming 20-percent-enriched uranium to the 90-percent-enriched product necessary for producing weapons is a relatively small step. Washington’s reluctance even to express concern about this development appears to stem from an unwillingness to acknowledge the failures of President Obama’s nuclear policy. Worse, writes Nagel, it is turning a blind eye to efforts at weaponization. But Israel has no such luxury:

Israel must adopt a totally new approach, concentrating mainly on two main efforts: [halting] Iran’s weaponization actions and weakening the regime hoping it will lead to its replacement. Israel should continue the fight against Iran’s enrichment facilities (especially against the new deep underground facility being built near Natanz) and uranium stockpiles, but it should not be the only goal, and for sure not the priority.

The biggest danger threatening Israel’s existence remains the nuclear program. It would be better to confront this threat with Washington, but Israel also must be fully prepared to do it alone.

Read more at Ynet

More about: Iran nuclear program, Israeli Security, Joseph Biden, U.S. Foreign policy