Caroline Glick
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Sunday was the first day of Sgt. Gilad Schalit’s sixth year in captivity. Schalit was kidnapped on June 26, 2006 and has been held hostage by Palestinian terrorists affiliated with Hamas in Gaza ever since.

For five years, Schalit has been held incognito. His terrorist captors have permitted him to send but one letter to his family and released but one video of Schalit over this entire period. He has been denied visits by the International Committee of the Red Cross. He was clearly emaciated in the video.

Over the past five years, Hamas has engaged in periodic indirect negotiations with Israel through a German mediator and others. While their demands have varied from time to time, essentially they want Israel to release around 1,500 terrorists from its prisons in exchange for Schalit. And they want the terrorists to be released to their homes in Judea and Samaria and Gaza where they can pick up killing Jews where they left off.

And it isn’t only Hamas demanding these things. In an interview with IMRA news agency on May 25, Fatah negotiator Nabil Shaath said that the Fatah supports Hamas’s demands. Shaath explained that once the Fatah-Hamas unity government is formed Schalit will become the responsibility of the unified Palestinian Authority.

The Palestinian Authority will continue to hold Schalit hostage and demand that Israel release thousands of terrorists as ransom for his release. As he put it, “We have 7,000 political prisoners in Israel by design – taken by the Israeli authority. They have to be also freed.”

So the Palestinian leadership from Fatah and Hamas alike are unified in their view that it is perfectly acceptable to hold Schalit captive. As far as they are concerned, it is acceptable to stand in breach of international law and basic standards of humanity in order to extort Israel to free mass murderers from prison. And it is acceptable to the Palestinians for these murderers to return to their work killing as many Jews as they can get their hands on.

It is hard to think of a more despicable comment on the state of Palestinian society than their wall to wall support for the taking and holding of hostages or their desire to see mass murderers released from jail. A person could be forgiven for thinking that on the fifth anniversary of Schalit’s abduction that the media would be full of articles describing in detail the evil that is Hamas and Fatah which celebrate Schalit’s victimization and the suffering of his family.

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Caroline Glick

Caroline B. Glick is the senior Middle East fellow at the Center for Security Policy in Washington, D.C., and the deputy managing editor of The Jerusalem Post, where this article first appeared.

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