Knesset to discuss panel on prisoner releases' findings

Panel recommended gov't should avoid large-scale swaps such as the 1,027 Palestinian prisoners exchanged for Gilad Schalit.

Gilad Schalit 370 (photo credit: Courtesy of Shalva)
Gilad Schalit 370
(photo credit: Courtesy of Shalva)
The Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee will hold a meeting on the findings of the Shamgar Committee on prisoner releases.
On Wednesday, MK Yoni Chetboun (Habayit Hayehudi) said his request for a discussion of the panel’s recommendations, submitted with MKs Hamed Amar (Yisrael Beytenu) and David Tzur (Hatnua), was approved.
“It cannot be that a year and a half after the [Shamgar Committee] finished working, Israel does not have a clear policy about freeing terrorists,” Chetboun said.
The Shamgar Committee was established in July 2008 by then-defense minister Ehud Barak after the bodies of abducted soldiers Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev were returned in exchange for terrorist Samir Kuntar, four Hezbollah fighters and the bodies of almost 200 Lebanese and Palestinians.
The panel recommended that the government should avoid large-scale swaps for abducted soldiers like the 1,027 Palestinian prisoners exchanged for Gilad Schalit in October 2011. In addition, it said that the government should set up an official unit within one of the existing intelligence agencies to oversee negotiations on prisoner swaps.
“A civilized country needs a clear policy, certainly in such a critical matter as freeing terrorists,” Chetboun stated. “It seems like we are behaving impulsively, as a result of pressure from the US and Europe and a lack of policy.”
The Bayit Yehudi MK called on the government to compose a clear policy with redlines for the future.
“Freeing terrorists is a serious strategic danger that encourages terror,” he concluded.