In contrast to the media’s coverage of the Shalit exchange as a victory for Hamas, The Washington Times reports a senior Hamas official praised the “strength” Israel showed in a prisoner exchange that swapped more than 1,000 Palestinian convicts for one captured Israeli soldier. “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.”
“As someone from the outside, as an enemy, I would prefer that Israel abandon that value, even at the cost of not freeing our prisoners,” Mr. al-Arouri said in Hebrew.
Israel last week turned over to Hamas 1,027 Palestinian prisoners in exchange for Schalit, who had been captured in 2006 and whose plight had gripped the collective attention of the Jewish state.