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Kidnapping Israelis key to freeing terrorists

Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik  |

Despite disagreements on other issues, the PA and Hamas agree that kidnapping Israeli soldiers and holding them hostage is the key to freeing terrorist prisoners in Israeli jails, some of whom are serving multiple life terms for murder.

Having changed its longstanding policy of refusing to negotiate with terrorists, Israel in recent years has released thousands of terrorists, including murderers, in exchange for the release of a few Israeli soldiers, bodies of soldiers and one civilian.

In 2006 Hamas kidnapped Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, and has been holding him hostage while demanding the release of 1,400 imprisoned terrorists, including hundreds who have murdered Israeli civilians.

A cartoon showing Gilad Shalit as the key to a lock with the text "Prisoners" recently appeared in the Palestinian paper Al-Quds.

Text on key: Shalit
Text on lock: Prisoners
[Al-Quds, Aug. 28, 2009]

Both Fatah and Hamas have stated that the kidnapping-for-hostage policy is the Palestinians' most effective tool to force the release of terrorist prisoners.

See PA Minister for Prisoners advocating kidnappings
See Hamas Minister of Interior advocating kidnappings
See full transcripts below.

Two video animations showing hostage Gilad Shalit as Hamas's prime leverage for prisoners' release have appeared on Hamas TV. Both applaud the Palestinian kidnapping-for-hostage policy, and advocate more kidnappings of Israeli soldiers.

One animation shows a Hamas child using a stone (symbolizing Gilad Shalit) to scrape away at a chain (symbolizing Israeli prisons) painted on a wall. A song promises that many "Gilads" will be the means to release Palestinian prisoners. The boy tells the chain that the Palestinians are patient and can wait for the chain to break. The boy then drops the stone, and on it appears a picture of Gilad Shalit. The boy tells Shalit that Hamas will be back to "finish the job." The video ends with Shalit crying, and calling "Mommy!"

The second animation shows Gilad Shalit being held prisoner and talking to a Hamas child. The Shalit character says Israel does not care about him, and suggests that the only way for him to be released would be for Hamas to kidnap more soldiers. The child understands that further kidnappings would cause drafted Israelis to refuse to serve in the army out of fear of being kidnapped, and thus scare Israeli leaders -who otherwise don't care about Shalit - into accepting Hamas's terms.

The following is the transcript of the first Hamas TV animation mocking Israeli hostage Gilad Shalit and promising more kidnappings of soldiers:

(Song) "In the prisons, our heroes cried with joy: Our day of release has come; this land is our country! You [Israelis] will all be 'Gilads'. We'll capture you."
Hamas child uses a stone to scrape away at a chain painted on a wall.
Child [to chain]: "You don't want to break- that's OK. Take your time; we're not in a hurry, we're very patient."
Child drops stone, and image of Gilad Shalit appears on stone.
Child [to stone - Shalit]: "You stay where you are; don't move. Tomorrow we'll be back and we'll finish the job."
(Song)"It is inevitable that the chains will be broken."
[The video ends with the stone - Gilad Shalit - crying: "Mommy!" (in Hebrew)]
[Al-Aqsa TV (Hamas), April 21, 2009]
The following is the transcript of the Hamas TV animation mocking Israeli hostage Gilad Shalit and promoting the kidnapping-for-hostage policy:
Gilad Shalit: "Mommy!"
Hamas child: "Who is it? Gilad [Shalit]? [Child laughs] Poor you! You've been rotting here for 3 years, and no one cares."
Gilad Shalit: "Please release me!"
Hamas child: "Are you asking me to be a collaborator and a traitor, that I'll betray my people and my homeland? Are you crazy!"
Gilad Shalit: "I have an idea: You [Hamas] go and capture more soldiers, they [Israelis] will be afraid and accept your terms to free me."
Hamas child: "Ah, they will free you not because they love you, but to prevent anxiety among your soldiers, so they won't be afraid, and stop their military service."
Gilad Shalit: "True."
Hamas child: "Gilad, stay here, and pray that [Hamas] succeeds in capturing another [soldier], so you'll be freed. Bye."
Gilad Shalit: "Mommy! Mommy! (in Hebrew) Free me!"
[Al-Aqsa TV (Hamas), July 6, 2009]

Following are two examples of PA and Hamas ministers advocating kidnapping of Israeli soldiers:

Ashraf Al-Ajrami, PA Minister of Prisoners:

"The language of peace and negotiations is not enough to urge Israel to cooperate positively regarding prisoners. The way Israel likes, it seems, is to exchange [prisoners] with kidnapped Israeli soldiers."
[PA TV (Fatah), June 5, 2008]

Click here to view

Said Siam, PA Minister of Interior (Hamas):


"In the past, Hamas succeeded in kidnapping many Zionist soldiers. From among our forces there are thousands of prisoners. They (the forces) have to think how to free these prisoners, and I believe that there is no alternative but to kidnap soldiers to exchange for them.
Hamas has kidnapped 10 soldiers.
There is nothing the Resistance cannot do. When there is a goal and a good plan, the goal can be achieved, especially about prisoners, which is top priority.
During the PA administration, Hamas has succeeded in kidnapping and hiding bodies, but unfortunately, two bodies were handed over for nothing. When there is a kidnapping, and it is secured, each case at its own time has its own negotiations."


[Abu Dabi TV, undated interview prior to January 2006 elections]

Click here to view

It should be noted that months before the Shalit kidnapping, PMW released the Siam speech, and warned that kidnapping-for-hostage was Palestinian policy.

To read PMW op-ed on Hamas's kidnapping-for-hostage policy, click here
To see more statements on PMW's website of the Palestinian kidnapping-for-hostage policy, click here
To see the PMW bulletin on the old PMW website, released before the Gilad Shalit kidnapping, "Hamas Plans to Kidnap Israeli Soldiers for Prisoner Trade," click here