Palestinian Nasser Ziad explains why he thinks the [Shalit] deal was right.I don't know the specific attacks that al Ghoul participated in. A triple life sentence indicates that at least three Israelis were killed as a result of his attacks.
Among the hundreds of Palestinian prisoners released by Israel in the first stage of their exchange for Gilad Shalit, there was my close friend's father, Omar al-Ghoul.
I was very happy for all the prisoners and their families as they were reunited after years of unlawful separation and inhumane treatment, but especially for the al-Ghouls who live in Mughraga, central Gaza, close to the former Israeli settlement of Netzarim.
Omar al-Ghoul was a member of the al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas. He received a triple life sentence from an Israeli court 24 years ago for his role in attacks on Israeli targets in Gaza and for joining a secret cell of fighters.
My friend, Ibrahim al-Ghoul, was born six months after his father was detained. Until this week, he had not seen him for 10 years, since a prison visit in 2001.
Since talk of a possible prisoner exchange with Israel began five years ago, following the capture of Cpl Shalit, I have seen his face light up with hope only to turn to sadness each time a deal appeared imminent but then fell through.
It has been difficult to grow up without getting to know his dad. "It's like you are told you have a father but you have never seen him," Ibrahim told me.
There is so much catching up to do that he still does not know what stories he and his father will be able to share. "Let's see if I will get used to him quickly," he says.
Ibrahim's mother, Suheir al-Ghoul, has done her best to raise her children and look after 18 grandchildren in her husband's absence. For a long time, she depended on intermittent visits to the prison to see him and allow him to assume some fatherly duties. However the Israelis suddenly blocked these for the whole family 10 years ago.
Suheir has always said that her husband Omar is not a murderer, but a hero. He was fighting for our freedom and our dignity. He never wanted to fight anyone but living under the Israeli occupation is very tough.
She turned up at Rafah to meet her husband with her two sons, both wearing the uniform of the al-Qassam brigade.
As a Palestinian, I also perceive Omar and all the Palestinian prisoners as national heroes. They have sacrificed themselves for the Palestinian struggle.
I also believe Gilad Shalit was a legitimate target for capture.
Omar al-Ghoul's father Mahmoud and uncle were terrorists ("majahadeen") in 1948, and his brother Adnan was one of the founders of the al-Qassam Brigades terror group, a top bombmaker and one of the developers of the Qassam terror missile. Omar founded a Hamas cell with Adnan.
Omar, according to Hamas' website, was involved in various attacks against "Zionist forces" as well as helping to kill "collaborators." A Hamas forum post brags about how his cell killed many Jews and collaborators.
Omar's sons also followed him in terror; one was killed by the IDF and another imprisoned.
The entire family has been involved in three generations of attacks against Jews. The idea that Omar "never wanted to fight anyone" is a transparent lie - he was raised to become a terrorist and in turn he raised a new generation of terrorists.
While the BBC allows a cheerleader for terrorists to weep over how Omar's mother missed her son, it doesn't bother to spend any time explaining exactly why he might have been sentenced to three life sentences. Apparently Omar's mother deserves more sympathy for knowing her son was in prison than his victims' families do for never having a chance to see their loved ones again.