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EDITORIAL: Don’t compare Israeli prisoners to Hamas hostages

During the temporary ceasefire in Gaza, Hamas is releasing Israeli hostages and Israel is freeing Palestinian prisoners. Apologists for the terror group are attempting to equate the two.

As the truce entered a seventh day, the two sides negotiated for additional releases. Through Thursday, Hamas had returned about 100 hostages it seized during the barbaric Oct. 7 assault that left 1,200 Israelis dead. Meanwhile, Israel has let out of confinement about 180 Palestinian prisoners it had detained or convicted of crimes.

Note the clear and stark difference. One side, Hamas, holds civilian hostages that it took during a murderous spree against innocents in order to use as leverage. The other side, Israel, releases those who have already shown a propensity for supporting terrorism and carrying out violent acts.

To argue there is any moral equivalency between the two is utterly absurd, aggressively ignorant and patently offensive. Consider a few examples.

One of the hostages held by Hamas and finally released this week was 4-year-old Abigail Edan, an Israeli-American girl who witnessed her parents being killed by terrorists before she was forcefully taken to the tunnels of Gaza.

One of the prisoners Israel agreed to release was Nurhan Awad, who was 17 when she and her cousin used scissors in an effort to stab customers at an open-air vegetable market near Jerusalem. The attack was caught on video, and Awad was sentenced to 13 years in prison.

Hamas last week agreed to turn over Doron Katz Asher, a 34-year-old Israeli-German citizen, and her two daughters, a 4-year-old and a 2-year-old. They were taken hostage after Hamas terrorists murdered Ms. Asher’s grandmother during the Oct. 7 rampage.

Israel this week opened the jail cell for Asra Jabas, a Palestinian who was disfigured when she became the victim of her own 2015 terror attack in which she detonated a car bomb that wounded an Israeli police officer.

“According to data compiled by the Israel Prison Service and Israel Defense Forces,” The Times of Israel reported Tuesday, “64 of the 117 Palestinian prisoners released on Friday, Saturday and Sunday — the first three parts of the hostage release deal — had been held by Israel for violent crimes.” In addition, “several of the prisoners were identified with multiple criminal allegations. Twenty-one percent of the released prisoners were listed as affiliated with a recognized terror organization.”

Meanwhile, Hamas still holds dozens of innocent Israelis — including at least nine children — that it indiscriminately seized during its bloody onslaught.

Moral equivalence, indeed.

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