We rejoice at the return of Gilad Shalit from Hamas captivity and extend our heartfelt congratulations to his family, who tirelessly worked to keep their son's plight in the public eye, to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for his leadership, and to the people of Israel, who have come to see Gilad Shalit as their own son and brother.
Our joy is tempered with the sober recognition that there are hundreds of Israeli families who lost loved ones at the hands of the Palestinian terrorists released from Israeli prisons as part of the agreement for Shalit's release. The images of Palestinians celebrating the release of terrorists from Israeli prisons – many with blood on their hands – are painful. We support Prime Minister Netanyahu's warning to the released Palestinians that Israel will continue to fight terrorism, and that anyone who returns to terrorism will bear the consequences.
Shalit's safe return home demonstrates some of Israel's most inspiring qualities: its embrace of life, its sense of community and family; its tenacity; and the great lengths to which Israel is prepared to go to fulfill its commitment to the men and women who make up its citizen army.