Defense Minister Ehud Barak 311.
(photo credit: Linoy Elihai / Defense Ministry)
Defense Minister Ehud Barak said Wednesday that once Gilad Schalit
is safely at home, Israel must think about changing its policy of
prisoner exchanges to "suit the tough rules of this region."
with Army Radio, Barak said, "I'm completely at peace with carrying out
this deal. Everything possible was done in order to eliminate the
dangers of releasing the prisoners."
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The swap "was the correct decision," he said.
Barak confessed that he and the other security chiefs serving
in the past five years have always felt responsible for bringing Gilad
that he met with the Schalit family in their protest tent hours after
the cabinet voted to approve a prisoner swap deal with Hamas that will
see their son released after five years in captivity, Barak called the meeting "very emotional."
Tuesday, however, Barak suggested that "restraint" be exercised until Schalit was safely back in Israel.
praised the negotiating team that came to an agreement with Hamas and
praised Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu for exhibiting "leadership,
bravery and responsibility," that eventually led to the signing of the
deal and its approval in the cabinet.
Opposition leader Tzipi
Livni said overnight Sunday, "I respect the government's decision to
bring about the release of IDF soldier Gilad Schalit."
Livni sent her blessings to the Schalit family and "all of Israel which sees Gilad as a family member."
The opposition leader expressed solidarity with the families of terror victims "who are also going through difficult times."
Livni stated that the release of terrorists from Israeli jails was a
move which would have "complicated security consequences," adding that a
discussion of future such events should be discussed following
Shas Chairman Eli Yishai said that the cabinet decision to approve the prisoner exchange was "painful and difficult".
He added that it "had to be done" and that "it was preferable to do it today."
Front Security Minister Matan Vilna'i told Israeli Radio, "We are
proving, for who knows how many times, that each of our soldiers is a
world unto himself, and we will make a supreme effort to bring him home.
The deal is a tough one, but it was the best possible to reach in these
He said the terms were thrashed out since secret
negotiations got serious about three months ago did not give Hamas
everything they asked for.
"We got the maximum we were able. And
we are again proving that we will make supreme efforts to bring our
soldiers home. It's the case for every family living in Israel," Vilna'i