An officer in an elite IDF unit told Arutz Sheva on Sunday that he and other members of his unit are upset over the deal to release Gilad Shalit.
Last week, Israel released 477 terrorists in exchange for Shalit, who was held hostage for more than five years by the Hamas terrorist rulers of Gaza. Another 550 terrorists will soon be released in the second phase of the deal.
“We feel frustrated,” the soldier, who can only be identified as D for security reasons, told Arutz Sheva. “We endangered ourselves almost every night to catch these terrorists and they are being let go.”
D’s unit operates in Judea and Samaria and is tasked with monitoring and capturing wanted terrorists. The vast majority of the unit’s work is not publicized, though recently that same unit apprehended a major terrorist cell, an act which resulted in the media publicizing some of the unit’s methods of operation.
D said that the members of his unit are now reviewing the names of the terrorists released, murderers whom they captured, and remembering the deadly attacks those terrorists carried out.
He added that the soldiers also recall the risks they took to trap these terrorists, some of whom were caught in their homes in the middle of the night and others who were caught following long battles with them.
“It may not be so nice to say it, but we are asking what the point was in taking all those risks?” he said. “These aren’t some amateur Molotov cocktail throwers or stone throwers. These are real killers. We know them and their release is frustrating.”
He also referred to some claims being made that the Shalit deal proves the heavy price that Israel is willing to pay for its soldiers and the fact that it stands behind its soldiers.
“That’s nonsense,” D said, adding: “They shouldn’t release terrorists for me.” He added that his friends in the unit think the same way and said he believes soldiers in other units feel this way as well.
“Everyone here is saying that if we are captured, Israel shouldn’t release terrorists to get us back,” he said. “Everybody thinks that.”
D’s words are strengthened by those of a grassroots group called “My Israel” which is calling on soldiers to sign a petition saying they do not want to participate in future terrorist swaps that would free murderers with "blood on their hands".
The petition, which can be found on the group's website, urges the government not to ever agree to a prisoner swap that frees terrorists who shed Israeli blood.
Signatories on the petition agree not to be part of such a swap if they are ever, G-d forbid, captured or kidnapped in future action.