Shocking announcement that Israel and Hamas have signed an agreement to bring about Gilad’s return home, and of course the release of over 1000 terrorists.
First of all, I am elated to hear of the news of Gilad coming home, great news in the new year! I hope its true and he is well.
Many concerns of course… I hope he has not been tortured too badly (for sure at first there almost certainly was some form of it, but cruel cowardly dogs as they are they bore quickly of that). I hope he has not been brainwashed too much, has not been converted to Islam, and remains essentially the same person he was… hard to imagine what has transpired. He certainly will have an interesting story to tell. The worse possible scenario is a case of complete indoctrination where he actually is released and becomes a propaganda tool form them. Unlikely I believe, both because Hamas knew from day one he was to be traded, and as far as I understand (though it remains disputed) he was captured only because he was wounded and perhaps unconscious, and as a Israeli combat soldier, I am sure he has and will make us proud. Certainly his one video that was released a while back, showed him as centered, strong and reasonable as could be expected for a kid his age in such a situation. Hamas was either unable or unwilling to make him read statements completely unnatural and against his country.
In any event, I am sure more than a few girls will make him feel a very popular and welcome young man back in Israel.
As for the “agreement” itself, with which I started the note, is an enormous problem from its very foundation. Israel and Hamas, a banned outlawed terrorist organization, SIGNED AN AGREEMENT. I have complained long and often about the fact Israel signs agreements with Fatah, the PLO and the PA, but this is a new low indeed. There has been swaps before, but I had never seen something on this scope, signed with Hamas.
It is true it shows something of the value of our people’s lives, and of theirs. Both sides seem to agree the on that. All “prices” are the point where the willing buyer and seller meet.
And Israel will try to spin it that way, but in truth it shows our weakness. The men and women (27 women, all of the ones under Israeli custody) being released were convicted by just courts with legal defense. It is being reported that over 300 of them are serving life sentenced for heinous terror crimes. I truly hope Barghouti was not one of them (a “prize” Hamas was trying hard to achieve).
They will further spin, that the number is a facade, a way Hamas can claim huge victory but in reality that many of the prisoners were purposefully captured simply to trade (in fact some will be spies). I myself participated in the days after Shalit was captured, in the missions aimed at hundreds of Hamasniks of importance being captured in order to gain “bargaining chips” for a trade (even if the impetus to capture them came from the kidnapping, it does not mean they should not have been captured in any event, and certainly does not mean that they not being released now after convictions).
To be honest with ourselves, it’s not that we value life more… because if we did, we would take into account the lives that will be lost by releasing over 1000 terrorists. Is it possibly more than one? Unfortunately almost a certainty. We would take into account the lives that were ALREADY taken by these murderous cowards, and not deprive their families of justice.
Most importantly, if we truly valued life more, then we would take into consideration the clear message being sent to the world and our enemies… loud and clear.. “Kidnap a Jew and get whatever you want” The response is not as Goerge W’s was when Daniel Pearl was decapitated… the hunt for the perpetrators around the world; instead the response is appeasement, surrender, negotiation with terror. And to call negotiation 1 to 1000 is a stretch, its like a Brittish man taking a walk in an Arab shouk.
To be even more blunt, even the one to 1000 comparison is inaccurate. As dear as Shalit is to us, as all our young brave soldiers in the IDF are, in the cold game of military tactics.. he is merely one young tank Corp soldier without rank or political importance. He knows no state secrets, and his absence or presence in the IDF hardly makes us more or less powerful. He is also long passed his military draft term and will likely serve no further. The same is not true for most of the terrorists being released, many being prominent ones and/or in leadership positions, let alone all 1000 of them! The enemy is definitely weaker without them, and stronger with them.
How many lives that we claim to value so much will be taken by this strengthened enemy?
So if we do not value life more, we perhaps seem to value victory less. Weakness has overtaken us. It is Hamas who has the “strength” to say “NO” repeatedly to an offer of 500 of their brothers, not merely one, to be released. It is them who value victory more and achieve it at our expense. Moshe Dayan told us early on in Israel’s history, that we can never stop every single terror attack, but that we can do is make their cost so prohibitive (ie retaliation) that the enemy will not be willing to pay it. Fast are wise words learned hard forgotten.
Does this mean we should have done nothing? Of course not, it is the important holy code in any fierce army, a cornerstone of the IDF, “no one ever gets left behind!” We should have done many things, (and that is another paper’s topic), but not this.
Of course there is some politics behind this. With coalition problems brewing in the Netanyahu government, he hopes this will help. Perhaps more importantly, he hopes this will be a big public relations boost that will aid against Abbas’s efforts in the UN (not so). In reality, it only deepens the legitimacy and reality of a Palestinian people, state, entity now even in the form of Hamas. It lowers us and raises them. The mass of world wide applause expected “Oh how wonderful Israel, you agree to let thousands of palestinian murderers go in the name of peace and one soldier’s life, we will never condemn you again. (and no long support a palestinian state?) ” will not materialize. If anything, people will be either shocked at Israel’s moral weakness or believe that these murderers must really not be terrorists at all (therefore supporting the arabs’ claims of oppression and injustice) because its hard to believe any country would be so insane.
People are fortunately rather predictable on the whole. They tend to do what behooves them, within their framework of ideals and beliefs. Israel makes it very clear that if you are peaceful, you gain nothing, and worse if you are friendly you will gain disdain and neglect. But if you kill us, bomb us, kidnap us, murder us, denounce us, scheme and plan against us, then your wishes are realities… land, amnesties, prisoners, freedom, money, weapons (we have given all those and more before), our holy sites, even Jerusalem itself is on the table if you kill, kidnap or maim enough Jews…
Well, all I can hope is that Shalit will still enjoy many Israel evenings with family and friends, and that the undeservingly lucky released enemy will not yet have met the IDF the last time.
As happy as it is hear to hear Shalit is coming home, this episode is a sad one on a road to death and suffering for Israel, let us quickly change the course. Shalit himself I would hope tells us when he has the chance, that he regrets those murderers were released for him. Let it be a lesson to all of us soldiers, let us never fall into the hands of our cowardly and merciless enemy.
Other news! Way more brief due to the length of the above.. (which was more important of course)
Iran tried to blow up everyone including Saudi royals and an Israeli embassy, and apparently US intelligence foiled it. Awesome… these are the kind of moves Iran needs to take so that even the worse Israeli government finally bombs them.
General Jodice in NATO headquarters in Italy said:
“It’s really been quite interesting how resilient and fierce they’ve been,” “We’re all surprised by the tenacity of the pro-Qaddafi forces. At this point, they might not see a way out.”
Aesome! The Lion of Sirt and his sons fight on, its unbelievable. At this point, I cannot understand the Lybian who, seeing his heroic leader battle the entire world and not surrender, can still support the coalition of Jihadist, communists, peasants and foreign western forces bombing his country. For freedom? No, the Jihadist, communist peasants will not rule over the same Lybian with freedom. I do know why, because he is either a Jihadist, a communist or a peasant.
The General said they remain a “fierce and resilient” threat which the media reported absurdly as a “threat to the NATO mission of protecting civilians. The charade is passed the point of absurdity…. It is a concerted mission of regime change, to the point that close ground support is offered at every battle with Qadaffi forces, as well as intel, weapons, intel, logistics, advisors and every other form of help imaginable. Blowing up every loyal soldier and pro-Qadaffi citizen of Lybia is not exactly the same as “protecting civilians”
Situation remains the same… if NATO does not call off the bombings (which there has been signs already it might), then Qadaffi has little chance of winning back Lybia… but if the mandate and coalition expire then I believe he may come back with a vengeance. His Prime Minister was released in Tunisia, and he has sons and Generals in Algeria, Mali and Niger… there is also the powerful Tuareg tribe backing him, of course its unsure how much money he may still count on (all his international and domestic assets were seized) but without the NATO support he may still quickly win Lybia back if not too much time passes where the new government can grow organized, stabilized and rich and powerful from the oil sales. If NATO commits until he is dead or captured…then hard to say how exactly it will end since it depends on a lot of luck and individuals and their choices. Qdaffi may in fact try to lead or inspire a rebellion in another African country (with his Tuareg allies) where there are no NATO bombs (yet)… what would happen then still too early to tell.
Bulger… (yes Jack Nicholson from “the departed”)
The media in typical indifference named the tipster that led the FBI to capture Bulger and his girlfriend in Santa Monica. Though it seems likely that Bulger already knew who it was (an Icelandic former beauty queen who collected the 2 million dollar reward). Just goes to show you, that you really can’t trust anyone these days…
The Media is similarly irresponsibly reporting that “scientists are 95% sure” of the existence of the yeti (the Siberian version of the North American Snowman)… not sure what to say about that one.