US Flip-Flops, Criticizes Shalit Deal
In an apparent about-face, US officials criticized Tuesday evening the deal brokered for the freedom of Gilad Shalit, which set hundreds of terrorists, including those who had murdered Americans, free.
The criticism came after it became clear that the released terrorists included those who had murdered Jews with United States citizenship.
Earlier on Tuesday, US President Barak Obama had said he was pleased with the deal that set Shalit free despite his own nation’s strict policy of not negotiating with terrorists for the release of its citizens.
Obama also expressed the hope Israel and officials in Ramallah would take the steps necessary to return to the negotiating table.
Previously, US secretary of state Hillary Clinton also praised Israel for negotiating with terrorists to secure Shalit's release.
French President Sarkozy welcomed the release of Gilad Shalit, saying France had breathed a sigh of relief. Visiting the port city of Nice, Sarkozy's opined Shalit's French citizenship helped keep him alive. He added that Gilad will visit France soon.
Britain's foreign secretary William Hague also welcomed the release of Gilad Shalit, and like Obama, added he hoped the terrorists-for-Shalit deal would provide positive momentum allowing the resumption of peace talks.
It is unclear why the Shalit deal would provide any such momentum. Israel's deal to release 1,027 security prisoners, some 450 convicted on terrorism charges, for Shalit was made with the Hamas terror organization in Gaza and not Palestinian Authority officials in Ramallah. Hamas encouraged those who were released to go back to terrorist acts.
Hamas had vowed never to negotiate with Israel.