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This is not the first time Israel has done this. Over the last 30 years, Israel has released about 7,000 Palestinian prisoners to secure freedom for 19 Israelis and to retrieve the bodies of eight others.1
Many folks are probably asking the obvious question, "Why exchange one soldier for a thousand criminals?" If that one soldier were your son, wouldn't you do anything to get him back? That is the attitude of Israel. Every life is important and the country will do whatever it takes to get its soldiers home safely. As a result, Israel has one of the most loyal armies in the world. Those soldiers take risks because they love their country and know that the country loves them.
Let's contrast this with the mentality of Hamas who encourages their young to strap suicide belts around their wastes and kill innocent civilians. How can Israel make peace with people who hate them more than they love their own children?