The Negotiator: Freeing Gilad Shalit from Hamas

A riveting true story of citizen diplomacy

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Ron Kiener

Ron Kiener

This review is from: The Negotiator: Freeing Gilad Schalit from Hamas
I read this book in a single sitting – it was that riveting. Prompted by the advice of an Israeli intelligence officer, author Baskin was told to maintain records of all his emails, text messages, and contacts as he pursued for over 5 years a resolution to the capture in 2005 (by means of a tunnel dug into Israeli territory) of Israeli soldier Gilad Schalit by Hamas. Baskin reports the ups and downs of a citizen-diplomat who faced a uniformly reluctant political elite in his own country and an intractable, elusive adversary in Gaza. But through first academic contacts, and then through the interlocutor Ghazi Hamad of Hamas’s political wing, Baskin stubbornly worked both side in this impossible equation. Every e-mail, oftentimes repetitive (but repetitive for a good reason) seems to be available to the reader. Finally, after a change of government in Israel and the appointment of a professional intelligence official to the case, Baskin and Hamad brought the deal together, forcing both the implacable GOI and the notorious “Mr. J” (Ahmad Jaabari – the Hamas militant in charge of Schalit’s fate) to deal. It is inspiring to read what it means to be a “peace activist” in the real and complete sense. Eminently readable, and a salve to the seemingly endless bad news coming from Israel/Palestine.''

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