PM Binyamin Netanyahu 18.07.11
PM Binyamin Netanyahu 18.07.11Israel news photo screenshot

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu sent a letter, Monday, to those who lost loved ones in terrorist attacks and now face the prospect of seeing their murderers go free in exchange for Gilad Shalit.

“I write to you with a heavy heart. I understand and feel your pain,” the prime minister wrote. Netanyahu lost a brother, Yoni, in the Entebbe rescue operation in 1976.

“I know that this is emotionally difficult, that the wound of bereavement has been reopened in recent days, that thoughts of it give you no rest,” he continued. “I faced many inner debates during the entire negotiation process to return the soldier Gilad Shalit from captivity, and you were in my thoughts the entire time.

“The decision regarding Gilad Shalit’s release was one of the hardest I have made. It was hard for me because it is hard for you,” he said.

Netanyahu explained his reasons for preferring Shalit’s freedom: “My obligation as the Prime Minister of Israel to return a soldier sent in the country’s name, to defend its citizens, stood before my eyes. When I went out to fight in the name of the state of Israel I always knew that the state of Israel does not abandon its soldiers or citizens.”

The terrorists being released in order to free Shalit “will not pay the full price for their actions as they should,” Netanyahu admitted.

“I hope you will find comfort in the fact that I and the entire people of Israel are at your side, and share your pain,” he continued. “Your loved ones are in our hearts forever.”