by Raphael Israeli
Three years after Gilad Shalit was abducted by the Hamas, it has become apparent that the organization has not budged from its starting position of not releasing him, unless
The Hamas, unlike
Consequently, many prominent and devoted Israelis have of late shifted from expecting Hamas to show flexibility, to focusing on the successive Israeli governments of Olmert and Netanyahu to evince more openness to pay the requisite prize and complete the deal. This would, of course, not only credit Hamas with a great victory, but would also constitute the first step towards the next abduction of more Israeli servicemen, in order to ensure a repeat of Israel’s capitulation and the release of yet another bunch of Hamas killers. Let us not confuse ourselves: we are not talking about a process of prisoner exchange that usually follows the conclusion of hostilities between two rivals. On the one hand we are talking about the kidnapping of an innocent Israeli soldier from his defensive position; on the other about thousands of murderers who were convicted by courts of law and incarcerated for long periods.
To posit one side of the equation against the other as if they were equivalent, and demand that Israel ought to show more “flexibility”, as if there were any negotiations when an un-negotiable ultimatum has been hurled at Israel, who is required to capitulate, does not bode well for the resilience power of our society, nor does it evince any fairness towards our leadership who is required and expected to pronounce the terms of the capitulation, and then take the responsibility for its consequences. Had this been a one-time, aberrant solution, which would have resolved once and for all the problem of Palestinian prisoners, most Israelis would have swallowed it for the sake of the Shalit family and for our national sanity. But the Hamas promises us that this “exchange of prisoners”, if implemented, would be followed by so many more.
Would this capitulation to a gang of unscrupulous murderers, who have vowed the annihilationist goals of their Iranian sponsors, even if
All it takes is imagination and determination. We should be prepared, for example, to hurt humanitarian needs of the Palestinians to achieve that goal, announcing to the world that Shalit too is a humanitarian problem which has sapped our national patience for three years, and since the Hamas is responsible for it, any suffering of the Palestinians could be stopped immediately if Shalit is repatriated. Those who only pressure
We could, for example, announce, after a proper warning, that no food, services, aid would cross into
We could also impose a curfew on the entire Strip and search it systematically from house to house. That would take time and expense, but we have wasted three years waiting in vain.
We could also arrest all the leadership of Hamas and its government and coerce them to ply to our demand. That would take time and sacrifices, but would be insignificant compared to what we will spare ourselves, if we were to capitulate.
Just think about our regained deterrence, credibility and pride, if we could retrieve Gilad without yielding in the least to Hamas demands and blackmail.
Raphael Israeli teaches Islam at the
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