Lieberman warns against repeating Shalit prisoner exchange mistakes

Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman stated on Sunday that Israel must not repeat the mistakes it made during the Gilad Shalit prisoner exchange. Lieberman explained that over 1,000 terrorists were released as part of the deal and some of them returned to plan and commit terror attacks after their release.
LIeberman Photo Credit: Miriam Alster/Flash90

After Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman was slammed by Leah Goldin on Friday, the Yisrael Beiteinu chairman responded to the criticism. Lieberman said in a statement that he understands the harsh words but that Israel "must not repeat the mistakes made in the [Gilad] Shalit prisoner exchange."

"As part of the deal, we released 1,027 terrorists, among them murderers and their handlers including Mahmoud Qawasmeh, who was expelled to Gaza and funded the kidnapping of the three teenage boys, and Yahya Sinwar, who leads Hamas in Gaza," Lieberman said. The Israeli minister added: "I continue to be personally committed to the return of Hadar and Oron to Israel and [the return of] our citizens who are being held in the Gaza Strip in violation of international law."

"It is important to remember that 202 of those released in the Shalit deal have since been arrested by the security establishment for being involved in terrorism," Lieberman's statement continued. "Among them, 111 are still being held in Israeli prisons and seven Israelis have been directly or indirectly murdered by those released in the same deal."

Lieberman added that before he replaces Coordinator of the Prisoners of War (POW) and Missing in Action (MIA) persons in the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office Lior Lotan, the conclusions of the Shamgar committee should be adopted in full.  

Oron Shaul's mother Zehava criticized Lieberman's statement. "It's glorious for the State of Israel that its defense minister, the one who heads the military establishment, encourages abandoning IDF soldiers," she said sarcastically. "Unfortunately for us, the defense minister still hasn't comprehended that the lack of action to return IDF soldiers who protected the citizens of the country who were sitting in bomb shelters for 50 days is causing the silent majority of the State of Israel not to send their sons to serve in combat units."



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