The Negotiator: Freeing Gilad Shalit from Hamas

An eye-opening book about international negotiations

This book describes in fascinating and informative detail the struggles leading to the freeing of the Israeli soldier Gilad Schalit from Hamas. On June 25, 2006, Arab Hamas terrorists crept into Israel and attacked Israel from behind. Israeli forces killed two of the eight terrorist, while they killed two Israelis, and injured three. One of the three was Corporal Gilad Schalit whom the terrorists captured and spirited back to Arab-held Gaza. Three days later, on June 28, Israeli forces launched operation “Summer Rains” against Gaza as a reaction to the raid, murders, and kidnapping. On July 12, Hezbollah attacked Israel’s northern border in sympathy with the terrorists, and the Second Lebanon War began.

Dr. Gershon Baskin together with other Israelis and Arabs had worked for years to secure peace between Israelis and Arabs and had many Arab contacts. He began unofficially, without governmental authorization or support, to open a back channel with Hamas as soon as July 1. Baskin faced many difficulties, which he is able to describe in intriguing detail because he maintained copies of his almost daily emails to Arab and Israeli leaders as well as officials of other governmental officials.

All of Israel prayed for Gilad’s release for years while Baskin worked diligently. However, as he describes, it was not until October 18, 2011, after more than five years of imprisonment, that Gilad Schalit was finally released and came home.

Readers will find much in this book that is interesting; how, for example, certain officials could not speak to one another for political reasons, how international negotiations proceed, and the multitude of difficulties involved.