CBNNews.com - JERUSALEM, Israel - When the latest round of negotiations for the release of captured IDF (Israel Defense Forces) Gilad Shalit failed, the government decided to publicize the names and records of Palestinian prisoners being negotiated with Hamas.
Israelis reading their morning newspapers were able to see the names of prisoners Israel refused to release, the "red lines" referred to by outgoing Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in a nationally televised address Tuesday evening, which Israel was unwilling to cross.
"I wish to say, on behalf of the State of Israel and its government, we do have 'red lines.' We will not cross them," Olmert said in a nationwide television address Tuesday.
"We are not a broken people. We are not a defeated nation. A people who desire life, one surrounded by hostile countries, threatened by murderous terrorist organizations, cannot, is not willing, nor will it agree to surrender to every dictate made," he said.
On Wednesday, Israeli dailies carried two lists of prisoners, one of terrorists Israel was willing to release, many with "blood on their hands," juxtaposed with those the government would not set free.
Among the "red lines" were the men who planned and carried out terror attacks in the second intifada ARMED PALESTINIAN UPRISING between 2000 and 2004, such as the bombings of the Sbarro pizzeria, the Moments Café, Hebrew University cafeteria, the Passover Seder in Netanya and bus bombings with multiple deaths and injuries.
At Tuesday's Cabinet meeting, negotiator Ofer Dekel and Shin Bet (General Security Agency) head Yuval Diskin, who had stayed over an extra day in Cairo to try to close the deal, said Hamas backtracked on already agreed upon parameters.
Following the meeting, the Prime Minister's Office released a statement.
"If Israel had released all of the murderers that Hamas was demanding, this would have caused severe damage to national security, including regarding the rehabilitation of strategic terrorist infrastructures and the return of senior 'terrorist engineers' who had planned and put into operation the most murderous terror attacks that Israel has ever known. This would have also dealt a mortal blow to pragmatic elements in the region, whereas the extremists would have been significantly strengthened," the statement read.
Hamas responded in its usual way.
"If Israel is serious, then it must change its negative attitude and accept all of Hamas's conditions," Lebanese-based Hamas official Osama Hamdan said.
"Otherwise, there is no point in resuming the negotiations," he said.
"These are heroes who sacrificed their lives to defend Palestine," Hamas official Salah Bardaweel said.
"They have spent the best years of their lives behind bars," he said.
Source: The Jerusalem Post