Monday, 17 October 2011
The situation with the Gilad Shalit prisoner swap is one of the most heart-wrenching that we have had to encounter in a long time.
On the one hand; parents, family, friends and Army Colleagues would be joyous about the return of a captured comrade.
The other side is, at what price?
I know some of the family members of the victim’s and they are furious. They believe that their parents died in vain, if now, those terrorist are walking free.
This prisoner swap should not lure anyone into believing that they are "run of the mill" criminals. These people are animals who don’t deserve to be let into a farm, let alone civilian life. Think back to the Cafe Hillel bombing, Sbarro Pizza bombing and the Park Hotel Pesach bombs; to mention a few. The masterminds of those acts of inhumanity will roam free in days, return as heroes and will look to recommit other dastardly attacks in future.
Let’s focus on Gilad Shalit for a minute; Imagine the situation that he finds himself in, not even 20 years old, Isolated, no human rights, no medical attention, no telephone calls, in a cell that is probably only slightly bigger than his body with no sunlight. Something had to be done to rescue him from that hell.
When word broke of his intended release, I went to the Shalit tent in Jerusalem and we were dancing in celebration with hundreds of people. I was dancing that night, not because I thought it was a good deal, but because I shared the happiness that his parents were probably feeling at that moment and Shalit himself. They dropped their lives, protested outside the House of the Prime-Minister and travelled the world for 5 years to hasten the release of their dear son and finally, saw an end to that nightmare.
I often thought why the army had not taken action sooner into their own hands. My suggestion was to bring Shalit’s captivity to a swifter conclusion (much sooner than 2011)by carrying out a specialized operation in Gaza, to extract him and bring him home. (This would have been akin to the Navy Seal Unit that took out Osama Bin Laden in Pakistan.) Now you could tell me that he would have been surrounded by suicide belts or explosives and would certainly have died? My answer to that is, yes, there are risks in every mission, but the “Raid on Entebbe” was completed effectively, in less time, with more people to release and in a distant land. Not to mention that Binyamin Netanyahu’s brother, Yoni, was killed during that operation (the only casualty during that most daring of operations). Also, we would surely have taken out high targets within Hamas and ended the suffering of the Shalit family in the process.
Bottom line, it would have sent one of the strongest messages to Hamas and the outside world, DONT MESS WITH US.
Since this exchange we are perceived as weak in the eyes of our own people and the rest of the world. Yes, 1,000 terrorists for one Jewish life shows the lack of sanctity of life within the Arab world but the value of life in the Jewish world. But it was 999 more than we should have allowed.
Giving away terrorists is the same flawed idea as land for peace; a total nightmare with disastrous implications that take years to recitfy.
The reality is that each and every one has to make up our own mind based on our own life positions. Whether we are mothers waiting for our child to come home, not knowing if they are dead or alive. Or are we the child that lost our parent to a murderer that is now walking free, or are we a country struggling by whatever means to keep our nation safe and alive. Who are we? And how can we judge?
Some will say it is an amazing deal and some will say it is a disaster which will usher in further terror.
Realistically it is an impossible question with no correct answer.
For the moment, we must be thankful that our boy is home and his suffering has ended. We must be more vigilant than ever before as I predict another wave of terror on the horizon. We must demand strong leadership, who knows what evil is, and are not afraid to call it by its true name and look to defeat it.