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Thursday, June 5, 2014

Schalit versus Bergdahl Prisoner Exchanges

Just the other day I caught an interesting news item on one of those international news channels on television. I heard of complaints about the fact that United States President Barack Hussein Obama had gone against previous policy and approved a swap with thTaliban for Bowe Robert Bergdahl, who is possibly an army deserter.
According to the video's narrator, the handover took place around 4 p.m. Saturday in the area of Bati in Ali Sher district of eastern Khost province. As the helicopter approaches, one of the Taliban men gets closer to Bergdahl and is heard speaking in Pashto, one of two main Afghan languages.
"Don't come back to Afghanistan," the man tells Bergdahl. "You won't make it out alive next time," he adds as some of the others are heard laughing.
Just before the helicopter lands, a group of Taliban near the pickup shout: "Long life to Mujahedeen," or holy warriors as the Taliban call themselves.
A Taliban statement, also distributed to media, quoted their leader Mullah Mohammad Omar describing the release of the five Taliban officials from Guantanamo as a significant achievement for the movement.

Bowe Bergdahl (L) and Gilad Shalit (R) Photo by AP, Shalit family, Ha'aretz
There were comparisons with the deal Israel had agreed to to free Gilad Schalit, so I was really surprised that it only took the release of five Taliban prisoners to free Bergdahl, while Israel had to release over a thousand convicted Arab terrorists to get Schalit. Just to give you an idea, here is some information about stage one:
In October 2011, the Israel Prison Service published the names of the 477 Palestinian prisoners released in the first stage of  theprisoner swap deal for kidnapped IDF soldier Gilad Shalit450 male prisoners and 27 female prisoners were released, among them 280 inmates serving life sentences.
Every one of the prisoners were transferred out of Israel proper on October 18, 2011, after Shalit was safely returned to Israel.
A total of 131 prisoners returned to Gaza; 54 to the West Bank or east Jerusalem; and 204 prisoners were deported overseas. Six of the prisoners were Arab-Israelis who were allowed to stay in Israel.
The Americans do not have the Talibans in the midst of their country or even close by. And five potentially dangerous men all those thousands of miles away from one of the most populous countries in the world do not compare one iota to the illogical and dangerous step that Israel took to get Schalit home.

What's good for the goose...


yitz said...

Already over 700 years ago, the Maharam (Rav Meir) of Rothenberg forbade paying exorbitant ransoms:
"Rabbi Meir was imprisoned in the fortress of Ensisheim and held for ransom. The king knew that the Jews would give away their last mark to redeem their beloved Rabbi, and indeed the sum of 20,000 marks was raised for Rabbi Meir's freedom. Rabbi Meir, however, forbade his friends and followers to pay any ransom for him. In his selflessness he knew that once ransom were paid for him, every noted Rabbi in Germany would be arrested and held for ransom by the greedy and cruel German rulers of those days. Thus Rabbi Meir preferred to remain in prison, and even die there, in order to save many others from a similar fate."

more here: http://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/111856/jewish/Maharam-of-Rothenburg.htm

Batya said...

Yitz, thanks for the valuable information.

Anonymous said...

good point, but it takes strong and righteous to do it.

Batya said...

we must