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High price paid for single soldier
Question of the Day
“To do what Israel did shows the value Israeli society places on human life,” Salah al-Arouri, a member of the Islamist militant group’s politburo, said this week on Israel Radio from Damascus, Syria.
“This is a pillar of Israel’s strength — to wage a war to free one man, to free a thousand prisoners for him,” he said, referring to the Jewish state’s efforts to free Staff Sgt. Gilad Schalit from his Hamas captors. “This is the strength of a society and an army.”
• Israel Channel Two television quoted columnist K. al-Ahmed, writing in the al-Qabas newspaper in Kuwait, as saying: “I wish I were Gilad Schalit; I wish my country cared so much about me.”
• Syrian blogger Soori Madsoos posted online: “I just envy [the Israeli] government because it cares for its citizens. Our government kills us like animals and our Arab neighbors say it’s just an internal matter.”
Israel Radio interviewer Gal Berger explained to listeners that Mr. al-Arouri, who spoke perfect Hebrew, had spent years in Israeli prisons for terrorist activities, is familiar with Israelis and is at ease speaking with them.
Israel last week turned over to Hamas 1,027 Palestinian prisoners in exchange for Sgt. Schalit, who had been captured in 2006 and whose plight had gripped the collective attention of the Jewish state.
Mr. al-Arouri was a member of the four-man Hamas team that negotiated Sgt. Schalit’s release, and said the Israeli soldier did not encounter violence during his imprisonment except perhaps on the day he was captured.
“But Gilad also endured difficult moments when he missed his family,” he said, adding that Sgt. Schalit looked pale and weak when he emerged from captivity because of the mental stress of his isolation, not a lack of food.
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