Half of Israelis back sweeping releases

Almost one in two Israelis would support the release of senior
Palestinian terrorists from jail in exchange for a captive soldier, a survey
found. According to Thursday’s poll in Ma’ariv, 45 percent of Israelis favor
freeing Palestinians “with blood on their hands” if that is the condition for retrieving Cpl. Gilad Shalit, who was abducted to the
Gaza Strip in June. Thirty-six percent would be opposed to such a trade,
while the rest were undecided. Hamas, whose gunmen were involved in Shalit’s
capture, has demanded that Israel release 1,400 prisoners as ransom. The
roster is believed to include several top terrorists sentenced to repeated
life terms in prison; their release has been nixed thus far by the
Israeli government. The number of respondents in the
Ma’ariv poll was not provided.

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