Rambling ...

I'm an Irish Girl, A Dubliner, with the 'Gift of the Gab' ... I like to talk & to tell you things. In Celtic times news, views and comment were carried from place to place by wandering Seanachaí ~ Storytellers ~ who relied on their host's hospitality and appreciation. I will need that from you too, as I venture to share Politics, Poetry, Laughter, Love, Life & everything in-between ... from Bog to Blog!!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Gilad .... Free At Last ???

It is Four years since I actively began campaigning in earnest for the release of kidnapped Israeli Soldier Gilad Shalit,  It is Five years since his abduction and detention somewhere in Hamas ruled Gaza.  Five years in captivity, 1,936 days detained in the darkness of a dungeon in Gaza,  in solitary isolation with no communication to the outside world. Held by Hamas.  

Five years ago, the Hamas terror organization kidnapped Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit during an incursion from Gaza into Israel. His captors have denied access to him by the Red Cross in complete violation of the Geneva Convention. For five years a merciless enemy has held captive a young man, a soldier.  Gilad Shalit has become a symbol,  and
it appears Gilad is coming Home at last. 

If Shalit is indeed returned alive and well, it will of course be a matter for rejoicing that he is unharmed after his appalling five-year ordeal and that the terrible suffering of his family is now at an end.And we must remember that we have exchanged prisoners under promise before & received home corpses, namely in Lebanon in 2008 when the bodies of two Israeli soldiers ~Staff Sergeants Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev ~  came home across the border from Lebanon in spartan black coffins. Their brokenhearted parents and families seeing the coffins on television in Israel and realising they would not be embracing their loved ones again, nor was it a celebratory day.  And a notorious Lebanese prisoner, who broke into an Israeli family home and murdered a four-year old girl with his rifle butt, was released from jail and sent to a hero's welcome in his homeland that same day. That day it was Hizbollah which delivered the remains of the soldiers to Red Cross officials, who identified the bodies, which were described as "mutilated", before they were transferred to Israel for DNA testing. This next day to come it will be Hamas ..... We must ENSURE that it is Gilad ALIVE & transferred to Israeli custody that initiates this swap.  It will be good to have this Soldier Free at last. 

BUT ... it must be asked if this is the right way to achieve his freedom.  Although I welcome his freedom of course I would regretfully say No. No,  It's Not.  A Military operation should have freed Gilad Shalit. Gilad Shalit should have been freed by force, by crushing Hamas, not by bolstering it.  The price that Israel has reportedly agreed to pay for his release is itself a terrible one which will have untold consequences. It will apparently release 1000 Palestinian prisoners, including 400 serving long sentences for some of the worst terrorist atrocities in the country's history.  For the IDF it is a moral imperative to bring home its fallen or captured soldiers. But the terrible thing is that by releasing 1000 terrorists back to Gaza and to towns in Israel's heartland of Samaria, it makes it more likely that not just the Hamas but Hezbollah in Lebanon too will redouble their efforts to kidnap yet more Israeli soldiers in order to further such barters in future.
Don't get me wrong, I am 100% in favour of getting Gilad Shalit back, I'm not heartless,  but there were other ways to do this.  Lot's of ways ....  the most sensible of which would be bringing Gaza to it's knees with no electricity or water, both of which Israel supplies,  no monetary aid or funding from abroad allowed thorugh,  and the threat of a massive military campaign aimed at wiping out Hamas.  We did none of these, and instead  we are set to release mass murderers of innocent Jews, whose families now have to grapple with the horror that their family members killer might bump into them in the streets of Jerusalem.  Or worse,  Resume their murderous rampage against other Jewish families in their own localaties.

So whilst this deal ~ brokered by Egypt and Germany ~ redeems one Israeli soldier, it ultimately puts more Israeli soldiers at risk. And the Israeli citizenry too.. Moreover, it strengthens Hamas in Gaza  ~ they are already boasting that this is a great victory ~ and it makes it more likely that more Israelis will be murdered by terrorism in Israel, and demoralises those IDF soldiers who brought these 1,000 terrorists to justice in the first place.

And Israel’s Prime Minister Netanyahu knows all this. As the Jerusalem Post notes, in a book published in 1995 Netanyahu wrote that prisoner exchanges were ....   ‘“a mistake that Israel made over and over again” and that refusing to release terrorists from prison was “among the most important policies that must be adopted in the face of terrorism.

“The release of convicted terrorists before they have served their full sentences seems like an easy and tempting way of defusing blackmailed situations in which innocent people may lose their lives, but its utility is momentary at best,” Netanyahu wrote. “Prisoner releases only embolden terrorists by giving them the feeling that even if they are caught, their punishment will be brief. Worse, by leading terrorists to think such demands are likely to be met, they encourage precisely the terrorist blackmail they are supposed to defuse.” 

It's not up to Israel to bargain and beg for Gilad's life. Those Arabs who hold him are being strengthened by the International media, because the media blame Israel, and not the Arab terrorists who continue his incarceration and are the guilty ones. Gilad Shalit is not a negotiating tool to be bargained off in a numbers game with Hamas, which they have tried to turn on & off for the last five years ~ NOT ONE Hamas murderer should be released in a trade off for the freeing of Gilad Shalit.  

How can one compare the life of a soldier with the release of such evil to the world? Will Hammed Ibrahim, military leader of Hamas in the 'West Bank', who killed & organized attacks that killed 76 people, be freed? Or Abdullah Barghouti, "the engineer" who prepared all the explosives that caused bloodshed in Jerusalem between 2001 and 2003?  His targets included the Sbarro restaurant, the University Cafeteria at Mount Scopus. He killed at least 46. What about Sayed Abbas, who masterminded the suicide bombing in a Natanya hotel in 2002, in which 30 Israelis were killed during the Passover seder, including many elderly Holocaust survivors and their families?

Having said that I am TOTALLY for Gilad being freed NOW!!!!  Not one day more in Captivity, five years is too long. Five years is too long!!!   One day more is too much. But, I dont believe in a negotiated exchange.  A Military Operation,  along the lines of Operation Entebbe which freed 100 hostages held by the PLO in Uganda in 1976 should have freed Gilad.  An undisputed Victory for Israel.  Not a Negotiated exchange which bolsters Hamas & encourages further kidnappings!!!

All Red Cross visits to Arab terrorist prisoners in Israeli hands should have been suspended five years ago. If they can't see Gilad Shalit, they can't see anyone in Israel.   No family visits for Arab prisoners .... no walks in the yard, no games, no cards, no books, nothing, no education, no degrees or doctorates to earn. Same conditions as Shalit has endured all of this time.  Hamas are not playing games or being 'nice' or even 'humane'!! 

Hit Hamas where it hurts ~ No monetary 'Aid' Allowed At All.  This would probably have been the most effective measure of all had it been employed.

At the same time all "humanitarian aid" to Gaza should have been suspended and blocked. Turn off the Power & the water to start.  Then every week lessen the 'aid'.  Let's "Aid" this Israeli Soldier not Hamas Murderers. Remember that All the supposed 'humanitarain' flotillas  REFUSED to bring a parcel or letter to Gilad from his family.

A total embargo by land and by sea should have been enforced by our capable IDF.  Nothing goes in, nothing goes out. By shutting down the Temple Mount to Arabs. By putting the PA hierarchy in Ramallah under seige. By assassinating the Hamas leadership, one after the next after the next. Same with convicted Arab prisoners held in Israeli jails. By returning Israeli's to their surrendered homes in Gush Katif and other sites in Gaza. By using the combined forces of the IDF & IDA to go get Gilad. Oh! Yes. There's lots of ways to get Gilad back without releasing 1000 terrorists.   Why were 'palestinian' supplies allowed in to Gaza?   Why were "ambulances" allowed out?  Why was medical treatment allowed to allieviate the suffering of 'palestinian' children .... Yes, I know it is the Jewish way to show Chesed.  But Gilad Shalit & his family have paid that price!!

At this stage I would have to say Let's Bring Gilad Home.  However it is WRONG that such a deal has been done this way .... Military Action NOT a deal which sees the realease of child murderers,  1,000 Operatives for Hamas to gloat,  is how Gilad should have been freed.   Let's not assume that this will end the public agony is Israel.   Hamas yesterday warned that Gilad Schalit will not be the last soldier that it will kidnap.  Abu Obaida, spokesman for the armed wing of Hamas, Izzadin Kassam said that Schalit,  "will not be the last solider kidnapped by Hamas as long as Israel keeps palestinian prisoners detained."

The senior official added that his forces were committed to all the prisoners that remain in Israeli prisons after the prisoner swap deal, and their release will be the organization's top priority.    We have now opened the door to this ....  further kidnaps for ransom!!! The former IDF Chief Rabbi Brigadier General Avichai Ronsky on Tuesday said that Israel should not have striven towards a prisoner swap that included freeing terrorists in exchange for Gilad Shalit. He believes the captive soldier should have been declared a dead soldier that cannot be reclaimed.   Speaking to Ynet,  he continued that the only right way to release Shalit was through military action and if that was impossible,  to sadly accept the fact that the soldier would remain in Hamas captivity though he added it was "tough to say that".    It is.  Very tough, but you equally cannot place the entire citizenry of Israel at risk and surrender to terrorism.   I'm afraid that will have even tougher consequences for All of Israel! 

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