Canadian CBC Radio's "The Current" program, hosted by Anna Maria Tremonti, devoted serious time to looking at the sadness and anger of some Israeli families looking on today as terrorists were released from Israel's most secure prisons.
Prisoner Swap: Arnold Roth We started this segment with the sounds of celebrations among Palestinians. The first of what will be a thousand Palestinian prisoners are being released from Israeli prison as part of a swap for one Israeli soldier. Sgt. First Class Gilad Shalit had been held by Hamas since he was taken in a cross border raid near Gaza in 2006.Listen to the program (streaming audio) here.
Today, the complex deal to secure his freedom began. Sgt. Shalit was handed over through Egyptian officials because Egypt helped broker the deal. By the end of the day, more than 450 Palestinians will have been freed - some to return to Gaza or the West Bank, others to be exiled. The remainder will be released in the coming months.
Polls suggest most Israelis approve of this swap but they also show concern that some of those freed could return to violence. And there is sadness and anger as some families watch the killers of their loved ones released long before their sentences would have run out.
Arnold Roth's daughter Malka was 15 when she was killed in a 2001 suicide bombing, which left a total of 15 dead and 130 injured. A woman named Ahlam Tamimi was sentenced to 16 life sentences for her role in orchestrating that suicide attack. The Palestinian has served 11 years in prison, but under this prisoner exchange deal, she is being released and deported to Jordan.
Arnold Roth had been lobbying the government to take Ahlam Tamimi's name off the release list. Late yesterday, the Israeli Supreme Court ruled the prison swap was a political decision and it had no jurisdiction. Arnold Roth was in Jerusalem.