Page last updated at 16:21 GMT, Wednesday, 16 July 2008 17:21 UK

Israeli reaction to prisoner swap

Four Israelis give their views on the prisoner swap deal their government has reached with Hezbollah.

DONNA METREGER, 71, BER SHEVA

Donna Metreger

Some say this shows the weakness of Israel, I think it shows our humanity. It shows we care about our soldiers.

I totally agree with returning the prisoners, let Lebanon look after them.

It does mean however, that we have to be very careful not to get more of our soldiers kidnapped.

It also means the chances of an Israeli surviving after being kidnapped are pretty slim.

I have trouble with giving back live people for dead bodies. We could have been more assertive in our dealings. But there was a whole lot of pressure on the government to do something.

Hezbollah not telling us that the soldiers were dead - that's not politics, that's power play - "we're meaner than you".

I feel very sorry for Lebanese people. They are between a rock and a hard place with Hezbollah having so much power.

The main thing is that the terrorists are no longer in Israel, and the Israeli families now know where their young soldiers are.

DANIEL, 37, ENGINEER, JERUSALEM

I'm against it, but not strongly. It's hard for me to say what the right thing to do is.

I am uncomfortable with the level of pressure the families put on the government.

I would not have wanted a prisoner exchange to have taken place like this with my body

There were lots of articles about what the families would do when their sons came home. I think they knew that if they accepted the possibility they were dead, the deal wouldn't happen.

I am outraged that an organisation like the International Committee of the Red Cross capitulated to Hezbollah's terms, not giving us any information on the soldiers.

I am a reserve soldier myself. I served in the last war and I certainly would not have wanted a prisoner exchange like this with my body.

I also think it increases the likelihood of another kidnapping, which can't be a good thing.

Soldiers would have rather seen a rescue operation, even if the chances of its success weren't high.

There wasn't a note of recrimination when the army went in to rescue Nachshon Wachsman, [captured by the Palestinians in 1994], even though he and several Israeli soldiers died in the operation.

However, this was driven by the mothers of soldiers, rather than the soldiers themselves. I send my condolences to the families.

ROM KESHET, 34, DOCTOR, TEL AVIV
Rom Keshet

On the whole, I think the deal was right.

If you look at past deals, this is pretty much OK because we only gave five live terrorists away. In the past, we've released hundreds.

I don't envy our leaders; they have to consider the families' and the nation's interests as a whole. It's a hard balance to find.

This swap might encourage more kidnapping from the other side, because they know they get a lot in return.

Also, the fact we're willing to pay such a price, even for dead soldiers, may encourage them not to try to keep the hostages alive.

I'm a reservist. I served as a medical officer in the last war.

I think soldiers and civilians too appreciate that Israel is willing to do a lot for its people, even when they're dead.

Clearly Hezbollah were not playing by the rules. They are terrorists, they have no rules, which is to their advantage.

I find it very, very disturbing, that a murderer such as Samir Qantar can be welcomed as a hero like this in Lebanon.

The Lebanese people should take a long hard look at themselves in the mirror. Although, I know that not everyone in Lebanon supports Hezbollah, it raises many questions.

MICHAEL, 30, PHD STUDENT, REHOVOT

The bottom line is, I'm against this.

I understand the families, really I do. It's morally wonderful that Israel goes so far to get its people back, but politically I think it might be a disaster.

The other side sees our actions as a great weakness. In their eyes, this makes us look pathetic.

For them it doesn't matter how many people die. Not least if they are ours.

I'm not saying we have to be like them, but are we doing the right thing to swap live people for dead ones?

Once you do something like this, you give power to Mr Nasrallah.

It's disgusting how they treat [Samir] Qantar [one of the released Lebanese prisoners].

If that's the way they're going to treat someone who killed a little girl - like a hero - what can we do?



SEE ALSO
In pictures: Mid-East prisoner swap
16 Jul 08 |  In Pictures
Germany's success as Mid-East broker
16 Jul 08 |  Middle East
Who are the Mid-East prisoners?
31 Mar 08 |  Middle East
Quick guide: Hezbollah
22 Aug 06 |  Middle East



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