The thoughts of all Israelis (and Jews), both ‘left’ and ‘right’, must surely go out to Aviva and Noam (below) Shalit – the parents of kidnapped Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit – following the failure of this week’s talks, in Cairo, to obtain his release.
Israel was ‘only’ willing to release 325 Palestinian prisoners for Shalit – who will spend his one thousandth day in captivity this Saturday – and not the further one hundred or so demanded by Hamas, but deemed by Israel to be too dangerous and/or to have too much blood on their hands.
Even by its dubious standards, today’s (left-wing) Ha’aretz newspaper contained a ridiculously simplistic, not to say nonsensical, piece of supposed “Analysis” (full article):
there is a price, and if you are not willing to pay it, then in reality, you oppose freeing Shalit . . . This price is reasonable . . . It does not undermine our strength or our existence. It will not change the balance of power between us and them . . . Israel has always released hundreds and thousands of prisoners in exchange for a mere handful. After all, we currently hold some 12,000 prisoners, while they have only one. Yet they are not demanding that we exchange all 12,000 for him.
Well, thank you very much! Try telling that to the parents of a victim of a Hamas massacre, whether at the Passover Seder in Netanya’s Park Hotel (30 dead), Tel Aviv Dolphinarium (21), on Jerusalem’s Number 18 buses (45), in its Machane Yehuda market (16), Sbarro restaurant (15), Café Moment (11), or Hebrew University cafeteria (9).
It is the release of the men responsible for these atrocities (and various others) which constitutes Ehud Olmert’s “red line” . . . one which, I believe, he is right not to cross. (A Google search of the author of today’s piece, Nehemia Shtrasler, shows him to be a regular contributor to The Guardian. Quel surprise!)
Like a rat, Hamas preys on weakness. And that rat knows very well how highly we Jews – so unlike it – value the individual, human life, and our responsibility towards our sons and brothers. Even ignoring the legal, moral, and immediate security considerations of releasing these murderers – how many more Israelis would they slaughter? – giving in to Hamas’s outrageous demands is to invite further kidnappings, not just of Israeli soldiers, but of Israelis and Jews the world over.
So, whilst my heart goes out to the Shalits – if I were in their (unthinkable) shoes, I would also be pressing our Government to meet all of Hamas’s demands (and soon) – it is the responsibility of the State to to take a wider, and more detached, view.