The agony and anger of Gilad Shalit's family is understandable; all normal hearts must bleed for them. But blaming Bibi Netanyahu for their son's continued detention is unfair. He has declared his government's willingness "to release 1000 Hamas prisoners, but not the most dangerous ones, and not to Judea and Samaria", from where they can attack Israelis again. This is prudent; indeed, perhaps not prudent enough.
Many Israelis would caution against any deal with terrorists, recalling, for example, that the exchange in January 2004 of 400 Hezbollah prisoners for Elhanan Tannenbaum, kidnapped in Dubai in 2000 and taken to Lebanon, and for the bodies of three soldiers ambushed on the Israeli-Lebanese border, resulted in the subsequent deaths of around 30 Israelis at the hands of some of the beneficiaries of the deal.
Since the start of this century freed prisoners have murdered almost 180 Israelis, and have wounded and permanently incapacitated many more. Hamas, responding to Netanyahu's offer, is insisting that before any deal can be done regarding Sergeant Shalit Israel must hand over 450 hard-core terrorists currently held; this is someting that the Israeli prime minister has declined to do, avowing that there is a price that Israel will not pay. However painful this appears, it seems the correct course. Bibi is not to blame for the impasse; a brutal and barbaric organisation with a mindset that would thrust us all back into the Dark Ages is.