'We shouldn't pay any price for Schalit'

Former IDF chief of staff Ya'alon says if price too high, Israel should consider giving up on hostages.

yaalon 224.88 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
yaalon 224.88
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
"In some situations we need to agree to make sacrifices in the face of what is demanded of us, because the price we would have to pay is far heavier than the price of losing a kidnapped soldier," former IDF chief of general staff Maj.-Gen. (res.) Moshe Ya'alon said Monday, referring to tentative prisoner exchange plans with Hizbullah and Hamas. Ya'alon, speaking in a conference in the Tel Hai College dedicated to leadership in the IDF in the 21st Century, was hinting that there was a limit to what Israel would be willing to do in order to secure the release of kidnapped IDF soldier Gilad Schalit, held captive by Hamas for almost two years, and reservists Elda Regev and Ehud Goldwasser, whose capture by Hizbullah in July 2006 sparked the Second Lebanon War. Referring to Schalit, he said that "obviously, if we had the ability to release him through an operation, as we have done in the past, then we should go for it. And I suppose that if we could do so, it would have already been done." When Ya'alon was the chief of staff, in 2003, he supported an exchange deal with Hizbullah. He said back then that "the price is reasonable." Israel received in 2003 the bodies of Adi Avitan, Binyamin Avraham and Omar Sawaid, as well as civilian El-Hanan Tennenbaum in return for 430 Lebanese, Palestinian and other Arab prisoners. During that deal Hizbullah also demanded the release of Samir Kuntar, the most famous and one of the longest-held Lebanese prisoners held by Israel, however the group was turned down and the deal to secure Tennenbaum and the soldiers' bodies went ahead without Kuntar.