Weighing Lives: Israel's Prisoner-Exchange Policy and the Right to Life

34 Pages Posted: 22 Jun 2018

Date Written: June 4, 2018


The state of Israel has engaged in many prisoner-exchange deals involving large numbers of released prisoners in exchange for only a few Israeli captives. The Jibril Agreement and the Shalit prisoner exchange has set the price tag of one Israeli captive to the equivalent of several hundreds of prisoners. Israel’s prisoner-exchange policy is suggested to contribute to a cycle whereby more lives are lost, which raises many important questions with regard to the right to life. Such a high price tag on Israeli life encourages more kidnappings, which results in further prisoner exchanges — and so forth. It is also claimed that released prisoners sometimes resume their involvement in terrorism, which causes a further loss of lives.

This study aims to understand the motivations of Israel to engage in such unbalanced prisoner exchanges, to analyze Israel’s prisoner-exchange policy with reference to various aspects of the right to life, and finally, to offer guidelines and improvements to the current policy to better address the right to life principles.

Suggested Citation

Aviv Yeini, Shelly, Weighing Lives: Israel's Prisoner-Exchange Policy and the Right to Life (June 4, 2018). Minnesota Journal of International Law, Vol. 27, No. 2, 2018, Bar Ilan University Faculty of Law Research Paper No. 19-02, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3190129

Shelly Aviv Yeini (Contact Author)

NYU, Faculty of Law ( email )


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