Former Shin Bet [Israel Security Agency] head and security cabinet member Ami Ayalon expressed his support Sunday for the proposed prisoner swap deal for the release of captured IDF soldier Gilad Schalit.
"Many of the Palestinian prisoners whose release is being discussed were tried and imprisoned during my tenure as Shin Bet head," he told Army Radio. "There is no prisoner sitting in an Israeli jail worth Gilad Schalit's continued captivity. There is simply no one like that."
He went on to say that freeing 450 "high-level" prisoners on the Hamas list would not necessarily lead to an increase in terror attacks.
"Terror depends less on the identity of terrorists that are freed than on diplomatic horizons and the atmosphere on the Palestinian street," he said. "I am not ignoring the dilemma, there are contradictory values and people with blood on their hands, but on the other hand, there is a soldier that we recruited to the IDF and sent out to battle."
Ayalon added, nonetheless, that there was a "red line" Israel would not cross.
"We should not pay with soldiers' lives and suicide bombs so that Gilad Schalit can come home," he explained. "Israel's policy over the years has been to negotiate only when there is no military solution, but the price we are paying with these talks is less than [the possibility of] Israeli fatalities from suicide attacks."
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