The main U.S. newspapers have been attentively following developments in the upcoming Gilad Shalit swap deal, with some of the news websites writing as many as ten different articles on the Israel-Hamas agreement.
The New York Times called the deal "a yearning for solidarity," with reporter Ethan Bronner saying the deal shows how small the gap is between the private and the public in Israel.
"When Israelis say they view the seized soldier, Staff Sgt. Gilad Shalit, as their own son, they mean it," Bronner wrote, adding: "It is the melding of private and public spheres, the unwillingness to distinguish between what is good for the state and what is good for the individual that is seen by many here as Israel’s greatest strength — but by others as its greatest weakness."
In an article published in the Washington Post, Israeli envoy to the United States Michael Oren rejected a common notion that Israel was more isolated than ever, using the Egyptian and German mediation of the Shalit deal to support his clams.
A Los Angeles article claimed that, upon closer inspection, the prisoner swap was "losing its luster for both sides." In the letters to the editor section, reader Nicholas Merkin wrote he was happy to see Shalit go free, but asked the LA Times to stop referring to the IDF soldier as a captive.
"Shalit was not captured; rather, he was kidnapped. The difference is significant," Maerkin wrote.
The Boston Herald devoted its editorial op-ed to the Shalit deal, titling it "A Soldier's Freedom." The article is critical of the agreement, saying it "gives Hamas and other terrorists an incentive to kidnap again."
"Yet democracies find it impossible to resist public demands to try to negotiate the freedom of captured citizens (Israel has done this before); public opinion cannot bring itself to abandon the captive to whatever gruesome fate pleases the terrorists," the article said.
The article also claims that Israel didn’t really mind if a deal with Hamas proved uncomfortable for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, saying in conclusion that "sometimes deals like this must be swallowed."
Whatever incentive it provides for further kidnappings; the Israeli cabinet must also know that Shalit’s release provides powerful reassurance to every Israeli soldier that he or she will not be abandoned, a conviction essential to confidence, high morale and esprit de corps in any army,” the Boston Herald said.
The conservative Washington Times chose to attack the deal head on, with columnist Abraham Rabinovich titling his op-ed: "Israel Gives in to Terrorists"
Rabinovich emphasized the more prominent Palestinian prisoners due to be released in the deal, and the prospected gains for Hamas, saying: "One consolation for Israel is that it has in the past agreed to an even worse deal for itself with a Palestinian organization," alluding to the release of 1,150 prisoners for IDF soldiers held captive in Lebanon.
CNN chose to center on the heated debate on the Israeli street concerning the deal, also discussing the high price Israel was willing to pay for Gilad Shalit. Discussing the matter, Rabbi Arik Ascherman told CNN that "Judaism places ultimate value on human life," a fact which made the terms of the deal reasonable.
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