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Thursday, 13 October 2011
Page: 11895

Mr TONY SMITH (Casey) (09:36): It has been 1,936 days since Israeli Army staff sergeant Gilad Shalit was captured by Hamas raiders coming across the border from Gaza—1,936 days as a bargaining chip in the hands of terrorist murderers. Gilad was taken whilst on Israeli soil, but only the delusionally naive would expect such technicalities of international law to matter to Hamas jihadists who reject the very existence of Israel. Gilad was captured while in uniform and, at the very least, should have been accorded the rights of a bona fide prisoner of war, but only the delusionally naive would think that Hamas jihadists who send suicide bombers to blow up cafes would care about the Geneva conventions. So throughout his long captivity, Gilad has been denied visitation by the Red Cross and regular communication with his family. He has been denied the privileges and protections that are his right under international law.

Yesterday, we finally heard of some great news. We heard of a prisoner swap deal that should bring Gilad home within a few days. Jerusalem will release 1,027 Hamas terrorists in order to gain the return of this lone Israeli captive. Think about that for a moment: that is a ratio of over 1,000 to one. Think about what this deal says about the respective value placed on human life by the two sides of this conflict. On the one hand you have jihadist terrorists who deliberately try to murder the innocent; on the other you have a society that will let over 1,000 of those same terrorist murderers go just to bring home one of its own soldiers. Hamas is dedicated not only to Israel's destruction but to the slaughter of every Jew on the planet. It is a barbaric movement whose terrorist tactics are only exceeded by its genocidal strategy. So while Israel can do a prisoner swap deal with Hamas, as it is right to do, it should never be pressured to negotiate with terrorists who have shown that their definition of peace with Jews is the peace of the graveyard.