Israel's prisoner swap with Hamas

I searched for another thread on this topic but couldn’t find one.

Why on Earth is Israel swapping some seriously bad dudes for one guy? I could see releasing 1,000 prisoners for one soldier if the thousand were in on relatively minor charges. But if media reports are to be believed, they are releasing numerous convicted terrorists and killers.

Won’t this sudden influx of hardened, experienced, and (presumably) embittered fighters lead inevitably to an escalation of hostilities and fewer chances of negotiation? What kind of shape is the soldier in after 5 years of Hamas captivity? Has anyone been allowed to speak to him?

I realize that many of these released prisoners will be deported to other Arab countries but surely that’s not going to last forever. Does Israel control the West Bank and Gaza’s external borders with Jordan and Egypt respectively? If not, how can they keep these guys going straight back into the Occupied Territories?

Will this bring down Bibi’s government?

It’s a moronic move. This kind of exchange happened in the past, and resulted in more Israelis killed. Utterly stupid. But it won’t bring down Bibi. He wouldn’t have done it without huge public pressure. Which shows that Israeli public is not that smart.

Oh and yes, Israel does control the borders. Doesn’t mean that those guys won’t be able to come back.

At least they’re making the swap for someone who’s alive this time.

The deal sucks, but what else could we do? We can’t leave a man behind.

It’s not that we’re not smart, it’s that our values and principles differ from yours in certain ways. Not everyone in the world thinks like an American or a European.

In this case, how do they differ? Is it all an extension of the pikuach nefesh principle? What about corpses, pikuach nefesh has little application for corpse/prisoner swaps.

If we presume of Israeli values and principles, why is this swap worth it?

Was it worth it for two Israeli corpses too?
Is there any talk in Israel of what incentives this gives potential kidnappers? If I were part of a group acting against Israel, I’d zero in on kidnapping/corpse keeping.

Not Pikuach Nefesh. If any mitzvah is involved, it’s Pidyon Shvuyim.

But it’s not just religious, although naturally religion colors the point of view even of those who do not themselves believe. It’s part of the social compact between the Israeli public and its leaders. We give them our children when they turn eighteen, and in return, they do their best to look after them and make sure they don’t die in vain. The government has an *obligation *to bring him back, and no cost/benefit analysis - valid as they may be - will make this obligation go away.

If that sounds too philosophical to you, think of it in cold political terms: parents of soldiers are the largest, most powerful group of voters in the country. No government wants to be seen as turning them a cold shoulder.

So yeah, we all know that this will encourage more kidnappings; it’s being discussed all the time. That doesn’t change the fact that we got to do what we got to do. Besides, it’s not as if they weren’t trying before - do you know how many attempted kidnappings have been foiled over the past few years? This deal won’t teach the bad guys anything they didn’t already know.

If a rescue attempt of 1 soldier meant that more than one rescuer (also soldiers) were going to die, would there be an obligation to go ahead with the rescue?
“do you know how many attempted kidnappings have been foiled over the past few years?”
No, is there any place I can get more info on that, in English?

Yes. But that’s isn’t an Israeli thing, it’s a military thing.

I’ll see if I can find something. Basically, in the various attacks on soldiers in the past five years, I’ve often noted that the reports state that attackers had apparently intended to take hostages.

Israel cares about its soldiers, their enemies don’t. It takes that level of swap to get it done. Every exchange with Israel and its enemies ends up that way. This is one reason a settlement over Palestine is so difficult. Israel knows it will gain nothing from the deal, so it has to be at least politically palatable.

I am an Israeli, Alessan. Dual citizenship. And as I said, there have been swaps like that before, and a lot of Israelis DIED as a result of those swaps. When you see that your values lead to that, it is time to re-evaluate your values.

I guess we’ll have to disagree.

Sometimes the military conducts operations that aren’t to rescue anyone at all. So while there may or may not be an obligation to do that, it’s not out of the question for a military to do it just to wipe out the kidnappers.

I agree that an operation to wipe out the kidnappers might be worth it even if some of your own soldiers die. I should have been more precise in my question and asked if it would be an obligation to sacrifice several to save one even notwithstanding the killing of kidnappers.

There was a thread about a prisoner exchange awhile back where an Israeli offered the Israeli perspective. From what I recall it was; Israel is a democracy that has mandatory service. This is acceptable as long as the government doesn’t treat its citizens as expendable. 1 for 1000 may seem like a bad deal and Hamas may feel embolden by having an apparent upper hand in negotiations, but the survival of Israel depends on what its citizens think, not it’s enemies.

I remember him not necessarily agreeing with this line of thinking, but there you go.

Maybe Israel considers its citizen soldiers each worth thousands of individual enemies. As far as unreasonable opinions go, it’s not nearly the worst.

Well, it’s a bit illogical if those thousand enemies go on to kill 20, 30, or 100 more Israeli citizen soldiers.

Just how much is one guy worth? Clearly there’s a limit, since they’ve only just come to an agreement. Apparently Hamas recently lowered their demands.

This is interesting timing as the American adaptation of Hatufim (Prisoners of War) just started here.

Who said anything about logic?

So long is there is an Israel, there will be dead Israelis.

And as long as there are dead Israelis by virtue of being Israeli or Jewish, Israel will be protective of its own. But this kid has become every Israeli (or Jewish, even) person’s adopted brother or child. It’s just…it’s just sad. Holding life hostage like that - be it bombings, kidnappings, massacres - will always be the greatest effective psychological warfare. Terrorism works. We know that.

I hope he comes home safe and I hope Israel cracks down on terrorist cells. A Hamas spokesperson has already said there will be more kidnappings. I don’t see any reason to disbelieve them.

Israel also has a history of attempting to rescue hostages or persons in danger, even when it seemed impossible. The IDF attempts to rescue Shalit didn’t work, so I guess this is it. Hope the kid comes home all right.

Everyone wanted him to come home, but few thought it would come without a very steep price. In a way, Israel & Friends asked for it. Demanded it, even, for the sake of humanity, to let the boy go…and when someone sent me a text about it the other day, I was happy. I mean, it’s hard not to be. I don’t even know the kid! But sometimes strangers capture your attention, I guess. And with all the publicity the young man received, it’s no wonder.

I agree it’s more pidyon shvuyim…the ‘Jewish’ laws of war have stood outside the norm of everyday life, and a man being held under inhumane conditions (which may be worse than death as it’s continuous) because he’s an Israeli Jew begs the question, “At one point to we give up on saving this life or easing his suffering?”

Still, it would seem to me that it is permissible to risk your life/s to save another as much as it can be irresponsible. Neither position is really wrong.

Yes. As Alessan noted, it’s a military thing, not an Israeli thing. On its face, it may seem illogical and self-defeating to sacrifice several to save one, but the willingness to do this is the glue that binds a military together. Consider for example a wounded soldier caught in-between opposing forces. Looking at it from a cost-benefit analysis, it makes more sense to leave him there to his fate rather than for his buddies to risk their lives trying to get him back to friendly lines. In any military worth its salt there won’t even be a question of trying to save him even if several die in the attempt; leaving your comrade to die isn’t any more an option than leaving a family member or loved one to die.