It’s a battlefield value."
“It’s crazy to outsiders, but that’s how it is,” Rami Igra, who formerly held the job, told TIME when the Shalit exchange was taking shape. “We are a small nation, aSee the whole article on Time here: Israel Is Experienced With Prisoner Exchanges and Their Consequences | TIME
fighting nation. We have to show the people that fight with us and for
us that we as a community will do the utmost to bring them back home.
It’s a battlefield value. It’s a very important value, and it has a lot
of weight in our national security. Unfortunately the other side knows
it, and they use it against us.”
Dichter, the former Shin Bet chief, points out that Israel has the
means to have the last word. Hamas founder Sheik Ahmed Yassin was
released twice from an Israeli prison, he notes, first in 1985 along
with 1,149 others in an exchange for three Israeli soldiers, then, after
being arrested again, for two Mossad agents caught trying to poison a
Hamas official in Jordan in 1997. Finally, an Israeli Apache gunship
fired a Hellfire missile at the partially blind cleric as he was wheeled out of morning prayers.
“When we had no option to detain him, we targeted him in 2004,” Dichter
says. “So those who think there’s only one round — no, no, no. There’s