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With Gilad Shalit prisoner swap done, Israelis and Palestinians debate its impact

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The left-leaning Israeli newspaper Haaretz, whose opinion pages are typically critical of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his government, mostly carried op-eds and columns heralding the deal, though acknowledging the security concerns. Bradley Burston, among the most vocal of Netanyahu's critics in the press, wrote of the deal in glowing terms, saying that it showed the kind of convictions that have been lacking in recent years.

On the face of it, the exchange is preposterous, in some ways, borderline suicidal. … The deal to bring Gilad Shalit back to his family is painful to Israelis bereaved by terror. It is, by any measure, chillingly dangerous.

And it was the right thing to do.

The deal is a remnant of an Israel which is fast disappearing. It is a remnant of a particular brand of quiet, exceptional courage. It is an expression of a national character that goes generally ignored in a media environment which prizes the extreme over the honorable. It is evidence of a people true to values which time and sectarian agendas may appear to have diluted and erased.

The deal for Gilad Shalit is a remnant of a promised land that – to those everyday people who donate their very youth, their very lives, in order to defend it – still believes it important to keep its promises.

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