While activists who have been demanding freedom for kidnapped IDF soldier Gilad Shalit expressed joy at the prospect of Gilad's returning home, another group of Israelis – the families of the victims of terror attacks undertaken by the terrorists who will be released in exchange for Shalit – expressed, in many cases, anger at the deal.
Spontaneous demonstrations took place outside the Prime Minister's office Tuesday night, in which several dozen family members of victims of terrorism in Jerusalem protested the prospective deal. Israeli media reports claimed that Hamas had compromised and agreed not to demand some of the worst terrorists in Israeli prisons, satisfying itself with lesser terrorists and all female terrorists being held by Israel. But top Hamas terrorist Khaled Masha'al denied those reports, saying that the list of terrorists to be released included all the major ones that Israel had, until now, opposed freeing.
Speaking at the demonstration in Jerusalem Tuesday night, Benzi Ben-Shoham, whose sister was killed in the 2002 terror attack at Cafe Moment in Jerusalem, told Arutz 7 that “this is a difficult day for all of us. It's a happy day for Israelis with a short memory. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was unable to stand up to the other side in negotiations last summer on the protests for a lower standard of living, and more recently with the medical residents. But he apparently is able to hold his own in negotiations with arch-terrorists,” Ben-Shoham said sarcastically. “This is a surrender to terror.”
Speaking on Israel Television, Yehudit Shachor, whose son Uri was killed with a friend in a 1995 terror attack in Wadi Qelt, said that while she was happy for the Shalits, “I wish I could be happy as a mother with my child could coming home. But that is not going to happen. I am also very fearful because I know these terrorists will continue to murder and the same thing will happen in the future. I truly hope that Netanyahu knows what he is doing.”
Meir Indor, director of the Almagor terror victims organization, was also at the protest. Indor said that Netanyahu, “the 'expert' on dealing with terror, criticized in his book the 1985 Jibril deal, in which Israel released 1,150 terrorists for three IDF soldiers. But Netanyahu gave more in this deal. In meetings we have had with him, Netanyahu said he would never surrender to terror, and promised not to give even a tenth of what he is giving now. Netanyahu clearly crumples under pressure. I would recommend that the public begin wearing bulletproof vests from now on,” Indor added.
Joining victims' families in opposing the deal were several MKs, including Michael Ben-Ari (National Union), who said that “this is a bad deal for Israel, and shows that Netanyahu cannot stand up to pressure. The writing is on the wall. In the wake of this deal Israeli streets will be flooded with blood. With all the sadness involved, I call on ministers to oppose this deal.”