For five years the Hamas kidnappers of Gilad Schalit have stuck to their exorbitant demands for release of 1,000 terrorists or more from Israeli jails in exchange for Gilad Schalit.
Successive Israeli governments were willing to release the number of terrorists demanded by Hamas but gagged at the demand that they should come back to live in Judea and Samaria where they could resume their terrorist activities and do the most harm to Israel.
Hamas relied on the Israel public to force the government to give in to their demands. Just recently they changed their belief that this would ever happen.
The turning point was probably the press conference of six former heads of the Shabak, Mossad, Intelligence, etc. calling on the Israel government to give in to the Hamas demands, which did not bring their desired result. At this point Hamas apparently realized they would have to do some rethinking.
All of this is not my imagination. Yesterday the number two man in Hamas in Gaza admitted on their television that they would not be able to free all the Palestinian prisoners in exchange for Gilad. He went on to say that terrorists who came from Israel proper, Judea or Samaria, might have to be left out of this deal. Why did he say this? Surprised by the failure of the Israeli government to buckle under to their demand that all terrorists be returned to their places of origin, despite all the Israeli public pressure on the government, they were forced to square the circle if they wanted to reach a deal to release large numbers of terrorists from Israeli prisons.
They did not want to be seen to give in to the Israel demand that terrorists not be returned to Judea and Samaria. Therefore they will probably decide to limit the list of terrorists they demand to those who lived in Gaza. They are already preparing the public opinion of their terrorists in Israeli jails for this change.
What can we learn from this? Those who insist that the Prime Minister be "courageous" enough to surrender to all the terrorists' demands, because that is the only way to secure Gilad's release, are wrong. It is possible for Israel to stick to a principled position and achieve its goals.
Don't expect any Israeli left-wingers to "get" this, but obviously the Hamas leadership "got" it.