Ya’alon: My heart said ‘yes,’ my head said ‘no’

“This issue has ethical, national, security and strategic aspects. On the one hand, we have a responsibility for Gilad," minister says.

By GIL STERN STERN HOFFMAN
October 14, 2011 02:31
2 minute read.
VICE PREMIER Moshe Ya’alon

Moshe Ya’alon serious with Likud sign 311. (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)

 
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Vice Premier Moshe Ya’alon and National Infrastructure Minister Uzi Landau, who along with Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, were the only ministers to vote against the Gilad Schalit deal, warned it could lead to murders of Israelis.

As Lieberman said in a statement he released Tuesday night, Ya’alon reiterated that he voted against the deal with a heavy heart. His office released the speech he made to the cabinet Tuesday night in which he explained his vote.

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“My heart says yes, but my head says no,” Ya’alon said.

“This issue has ethical, national, security and strategic aspects. On the one hand, we have a responsibility for Gilad – the need to save his life and redeem a captive. But to bring about his release, we would have to free 1,000 terrorists. From experience, we know that the terrorists we release will lead to the murder of dozens and maybe hundreds of Israelis.”

Ya’alon noted that the terrorists released in the 1985 Jibril Deal led the first intifada and were directly responsible for the deaths of 178 Israelis and indirectly for many more.

“[The Schalit deal] would be a victory for Hamas and a surrender to terror,” he said. “It would give new spirit to jihadist extremists and harm our deterrence. We are obligated to the life of Gilad Schalit and to return him home, but we are also obligated to protect the citizens of Israel.”

Ya’alon told the cabinet that once a decision would be made, he would support it out of collective authority as a minister.

Landau told Army Radio that freeing terrorists in past deals led to Schalit’s kidnapping and could lead to future kidnappings and more victims.

“It proves terror pays, and it’s a big victory for Hamas,” he said.

“Our deterrence and our legal system have been harmed.”

Landau said he considered requests that the decision be made unanimously by the cabinet, but rejected them. However, he said once there was a decision, it must be implemented, and he intended to “leave politics on the side.”

Opposition leader Tzipi Livni expressed support for the decision.

She said she was happy for the Schalit family, but that the families of terror victims must also be embraced.

“After Gilad’s return, there needs to be a serious and deep discussion about what would happen if, God forbid, there is another such incident in the future,” Livni said. “I hope that whatever is decided will never be required.”

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