(Israel Government Press Office)
Ma'ariv recalls the events leading up to the Shalit deal and says: "When it became clear to him [Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu] that freeing Shalit would neutralize the major protests of the summer of 2011 and instantly turn him into the darling of the masses on the Center-Left, Bibi did not hesitate." The author urges a halt to such exchange deals and asserts: "As long as Israel agrees to go down on its knees and crawl backwards in the face of a photograph of an abducted soldier or youth, all of the terrorist organizations will continue to invest all of their energy, creativity, daring and murderous inclinations in order to abduct them. When we stop paying, it will stop." The paper adds: "In order to stop, we need a leader with backbone, fortitude, an iron will and true principles," and calls on the government to immediately approve the recommendations of the Shamgar committee.
Yediot Aharonot refers to the Shalit deal and suggests that "[Prime Minister] Netanyahu did not stand up to the public opinion, despite the warnings he received from senior figures in the security establishment to the effect that the wholesale release of over 1,000 murderers whose hands were full of blood would encourage the abduction of Israelis as a proven tool for releasing more prisoners." The author remarks that "The Israeli government must now deal with results of its miserable decision: Those released under the Shalit deal are taking leading roles in planning the next campaign against Israel from Gaza and the West Bank."
Yisrael Hayom asserts that "Deals to free terrorists in exchange for captives and abductees have proven to be resounding failures," and reminds its readers that "Freed terrorists are the heroes of Palestinian society." The author believes that "The Shalit deal showed Israeli society in all its sensitivity and in all its weakness," and avers that "The deal for Gilad was the result of public pressure on the political leadership." The paper asserts that "It is important that Israel not repeat the mistakes of the past," and adds: "There can be no negotiations with terrorists."
The Jerusalem Post comments on the escalation of the conflict in Syria as it relates directly to Israel, and calls for an exhaustive reconsideration of the situation: “Ingrained concepts that constituted Israel’s strategic premise for decades no longer seem valid.” The editor warns: “Syria’s well-controlled, strenuously disciplined border zone is gone,” and asserts: “The global jihad is in full fury next door.”
Haaretz warns of police interference with the right to freedom of expression, in light of the recent arrest of a lawyer “for a poem he posted on his Facebook page,” and the recommendation that “an investigation be launched against MK Haneen Zoabi for her remarks in connection with the three kidnapped teenagers.” The editor believes that even if the investigations end with no charges being filed, “the very fact of the arrest or probe recommendation have a chilling effect on the expression of opinions, and as a result seriously undermines free expression and democracy.” The editor states: “The attorney general must order the police to stop these types of arrests and investigations, and the police commissioner must redeploy his forces to do what the police are here for – to protect its citizens, not harass them.”
[Ben Caspit, Shimon Shiffer and Haim Shein wrote today's articles in Ma'ariv, Yediot Aharonot and Yisrael Hayom, respectively.]