As both Arab and Israeli sources report that an impending prisoner exchange will trade kidnapped Israeli hostage Gilad Shalit for Palestinian terrorists serving life sentences for murder, Palestinian sources report that this move will increase the motivation to kidnap Israeli soldiers. PMW has reported similar statements in the past in response to earlier prisoner exchanges.
In addition, the deal will improve the position of Hamas internationally and internally: Internationally, because Israel's demand that the world boycott Hamas will be weakened as Israel itself has negotiated this release with Hamas; and internally, because Hamas will be strengthened among the Palestinian population as the movement that succeeded in releasing prisoners.
The following are the recent articles:
Headline: "The effect of the prisoner exchange deal on the Palestinian map"
"The degree of influence of the prisoner exchange deal [on Palestinian society] is dependent on the conditions of the deal and whether it follows Israel's criteria, which include not freeing those serving lengthy prison terms ("whose hands are stained with blood") [parentheses in original] ...
The information thus far shows that Israel's criteria have largely been shattered, while the Palestinian criteria have been breached to a lesser degree...
Completing the deal according to Palestinian criteria means:
a. Israel understands only the language of force, since kidnapping is the only thing that leaves open the gates of hope for freedom for prisoners with long prison terms. This encourages others towards self-sacrifice for the sake of the homeland and to respond to the mandatory call to resist the occupation and to cause it loss of life.
b. Israel was forced to negotiate - even if indirectly - with a Palestinian organization, that refuses to recognize it and to stop its (violent) resistance, and does not accept the Quartet's conditions. This will weaken Israel's ability to object to European, American and international contacts and meetings with the Hamas movement.
c. The Hamas movement's success in completing the prisoner exchange will deal it an important hand that will improve its internal [Palestinian] position, especially since the [exchange] deal occurs at a time when the bilateral negotiations [between Israel and the Palestinian Authority] have reached a dead end."
[Hani Al-Masri, PA columnist, Al-Ayyam, Dec. 1, 2009]
"[Gilad] Shalit is better known in the world than any Palestinian prisoner, as if it is obvious to the near-sighted and racist world that Shalit will be released from prison... while a Palestinian must enter prison and die there...
The Hebrew state understands nothing but force in the 'conflict and solution' game. The microcosm of this is the 'imprisonment and release' game, which is currently at its climax, in what is known as the "Shalit deal"...
In this [prisoner] game there is no place for "humaneness" and "morality" [on Israel's part]... as we have learned from the [past] stories of prisoner exchanges, or the exchange of bodies [of kidnapped Israeli soldiers] for prisoners between Hezbollah and the Hebrew state, and the Ahmad Jibril deal [1150 prisoners exchanged for 3 Israelis soldiers], and [as we] now [learn from] - the Shalit deal.
The [Israeli] message is clear and unequivocal. Only, only - says the Hebrew state - by force, detainment, capture, and kidnapping of occupation soldiers, is it possible to free Palestinian prisoners "whose hands are stained with blood", [i.e., serving life sentences for murder]..."
[Abdallah Awad, Al-Ayyam, Dec. 3, 2009]