Bravo for these people, these Israelis

via A Special Place in Hell-Israel News – Haaretz Israeli News source..

Israel has freed 13,509 prisoners in order to win the release of a total of 16 soldiers. An average of well over 800 for each one. But this is the price.

By Bradley Burston

Keeping a promise can entail a terrible choice. Which is why Israelis’ outpouring of support for a prisoner exchange for Gilad Shalit deserves profound admiration, even wonder.

In driving their leaders to accept the deal, in supporting Benjamin Netanyahu for having assented to it, Israelis by the millions are gambling their very lives, and those of their loved ones. And all just to keep a promise.

Netanyahu Shalit

Aviva and Noam Shalit with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife, Sara.

Photo by: Avi Ohayon

On the face of it, the exchange is preposterous, in some ways, borderline suicidal. On the face of it, agreeing with Hamas to the release of more than a thousand Palestinian prisoners, many of them to this day proud of having committed heinous murders of innocent people in premeditated acts of terrorism, makes little sense.

Israelis know that the exchange will bolster the recently flagging popularity of Hamas, in particular its more militant figures. It could seriously undermine Palestinian moderates, foster a return of large-scale terrorism, and deal a telling blow to the Palestinian Authority, in the process eroding the security of Israelis on both sides of the Green Line.

The deal to bring Gilad Shalit back to his family is painful to Israelis bereaved by terror. It is, by any measure, chillingly dangerous.

And it was the right thing to do.

The deal is a remnant of an Israel which is fast disappearing. It is a remnant of a particular brand of quiet, exceptional courage. It is an expression of a national character that goes generally ignored in a media environment which prizes the extreme over the honorable. It is evidence of a people true to values which time and sectarian agendas may appear to have diluted and erased.

The deal for Gilad Shalit is a remnant of a promised land that – to those everyday people who donate their very youth, their very lives, in order to defend it – still believes it important to keep its promises.

The first of those promises is a simple one. When they draft you and process you and inoculate you and arm you and begin to use you, they spell it out, to you and your family both: If you are lost on the field of battle, we will get you back. Whatever it takes.

Whatever it takes. Even if it takes much too much.

The list of the terrorists being released is unendurable. The numbers are beyond understanding. Until you consider that this is how it’s always been.

In Israel’s nine prisoner exchanges with Arab enemies, dating back to the first, 54 years ago, Israel has freed 13,509 prisoners in order to win the release of a total of 16 soldiers. An average of well over 800 for each one. This is the price.

It is said that the people on the list for the current deal have been directly responsible for the deaths of 599 Israelis. Had Israelis waited longer for a deal, however, Gilad Shalit might well have made it 600.

On Tuesday morning, Israelis by the millions, heard a sentence that allowed them, at long last, to begin to breathe again: Gilad Shalit is no longer in Hamas hands.

There is something still extraordinary about the core of these people, the Israelis. In the summer, when hundreds of thousands marched in the streets for social justice, they roared their endorsement of a deal such as this to free Gilad Shalit.

In perhaps the most exceptional expressions of support, even some of those most personally and deeply wounded by the terrorists to be freed, have come out in support.

“From the standpoint of a mother, I’m in favor of the price that’s been paid in order to bring Gilad Shalit home,” Sarit Golumbek, who lost her son Zvi 10 years ago in the bombing of the Sbarro restaurant in Jerusalem, told Yedioth Ahronoth last week. “My heart is with the Shalit family.”

There is no understanding what Sarit Golumbek has been through. There is no understanding what Israelis as a people have just done, in keeping that kind of promise, displaying this depth of compassion, taking this kind of risk, to bring home one of their own. Someone they never knew until it was too late.

But Israel being what it is, many, many of them came to know the Shalit family personally, on their walks the length and breadth of Israel, or in the tent by the prime minister’s residence in Jerusalem, the protest tent that was their home until the news came that their son was finally to be freed.

Bravo for the people who brought Gilad home. Bravo for these people, these Israelis, who held a part of their breath for five years and five months, waiting for news of someone they did not know, but who could just as easily have been their own.

Bravo, as well, for Benjamin Netanyahu. He did what the people of Israel wanted. That is his job. He did not do the bidding of a raucous, vicious minority. He took courage in a courageous people. That is why he is there.

He did the right thing.

 

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8 Comments on “Bravo for these people, these Israelis”

  1. Arthur Gibson Says:

    At long last I get it. To refuse to negotiate with terrorist kidnapers is cowardice. To swap over a thousand terrorists for one kid is courage. You take the risk that the thousand will seek to kill you in order to rescue a youngster from death. That is courage of such a high order that The West cannot comprehend its meaning. That is a type of courage that is so great that we do not have a word for it in the English language

    This Gentile salutes you Jews because you are right and we are wrong. You Jews are the bravest and most courageous people on this planet.

  2. David Says:

    Here is a question for the supporters of the deal:
    1. What will you tell the next terror victim who will be murdered by one of the 1199 Palestinians released from prison?
    2. If 10% of the 1119 prisoners murder 10 Jews, i.e. 1,120 people, will it be enough to say the deal was wrong?
    3. If 50% of the 1119 prisoners murder 20 Jews, i.e. 11,190 people, will it be enough to say the deal was wrong?
    4. How many future Israelis should be murdered by these 1,119 “angels” to say the deal was wrong?

  3. Arthur Gibson Says:

    Answers to David:

    1. You can’t tell the next murdered terror victim anything because they will be dead, so your question does not have any meaning.

    2. No, it is not enough to say that the deal is wrong.

    3. No, it is not enough to say that the deal is wrong.

    4. This question makes no sense. Maybe no Israelis will be murdered by the 1,119. We can’t comment on an unknown supposition.

    There was more to the deal than swapping brave Gilad for 1,119 terrorists. Syria’s influence with Hamas has been fatally weakened and replaced by the more moderate influence of the new Egyptian leadership. Increasingly the Egyptians will be calling the shots with Hamas and punishing them if they step out of line. For that reason it is possible that no more Israelis will be killed or kidnapped by Hamas terrorists. At the very least the terrorist threat will have been greatly diminished. Egypt’s military leaders do NOT want to go thrugh all this again. This is good news for Israel. Gilad’s suffering has put the terrorists in a bind. Perhaps he single-handedly accomplished more than another war between Israel and Hamas could have achieved. Gilad might be a greater hero than we currently imagine him to be.

  4. David Says:

    Mr. Gibson,

    1a. What will you tell the next terror victim’s family who will be murdered by one of the 1119 Palestinians released from prison?
    But for his release, the prisoner would not have harmed an Israeli. (My earlier question was badly phrased, since the victim would be dead. Of course, my question “has no meaning,” but semantics is your strength!)
    4a. Does recidivism exist among the Palestinian prisoners? Yes or no.
    4b. Do you admit that the prisoners are more likely than not to commit future acts of violence (mass murder, individual murder, guerrilla warfare, etc)? Yes or no.
    4c. Isn’t Israeli state base its national security and defense on suppositions? For example, suppose Iran acquires nuclear weapons? Suppose, the UN grants Palestinians a statehood. Suppose Egyptian army attacks Israel? Suppose, there is a public hazard of flu? Suppose there will be more pensioners than expected? A prudent person and especially a state actor bases its present or future conduct on suppositions!
    5. Do you believe that rewards affect human behavior? If 1 Israeli soldier can be exchanged for 1,000 or so Palestinian prisoners, surely it is rewarding to kidnap another soldier.
    6. Would you have objected if Israel released ALL Palestinian prisoners for Mr. Shalit?
    7. “Gilad’s suffering has put the terrorists in a bind.” Since when did the terrorists care about (a) “Gilad’s suffering,” (b) being in a “bind?” Of course, this supposes that they are in a bind, but I will grant you that supposition for the sake of the argument.
    8. Assuming that Hamas will not kidnap another soldier in the future, could Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad, etc. kidnap the next Gilad?
    P.S. Interestingly enough, you made a few suppositions:
    “a more moderate influence of the new Egyptian leadership,” “punishing them…,” “no more Israelis will be killed or kidnapped.”
    Surely these are not “known” certainties. :)

  5. Arthur Gibson Says:

    Rather than get bogged down answering all of your questions, let us try to simplify the discussion.

    You are saying that the price paid for Gilad’s freedom was too high. I am saying that Gilad’s life is so valuable that the price paid for him was worth paying. Of course there would be a price that was too high. The Israelis should not have swapped Jerusalem or Tel Aviv for Gilad. But to deport 1,059 pieces of shit for the brave soldier – yes, that was value in my opinion. That kid is not priceless, but if Hamas merely want excrement in exchange for him then the Israelis did the right thing in shovelling that bunch of crap over the border. In return they got gold, pure human gold. Look at the way that kid answered the foolish Egyptian reporter’s questions. He looked and probably felt like a survivor from Auschwitz, but he answered that idiotic woman’s questions with style, maturity and diplomacy that should make all of the Free World feel proud. Gilad must have gone to Hell and back ten thousand times during his captivity. Now he is free to rejoin his unit and defend his country against those terrorists. With kids like Gilad defending the Free World we are not afraid of a thousand cowardly terrorists roaming free. He is worth more that all the Hamas fighter sput together.

    Israel let those terrorists go because they are NOT afraid of them. But Hamas must be trembling to think that now they face not only Gilad, but also an entire army of Israeli Gilads who, when the time comes, will carve them into small pieces.

    Do not ask “Was Gilad worth a thousand terrorists?” Ask “Were a thousand terrorists as valuable to us as Gilad?” The answer must surely be no – they ain’t worth it. They are not worth the rotting carcass of a dead dog. They ain’t worth nothing.

  6. Arthur Gibson Says:

    Or look at it from another angle. If The Israelis had refused to negotiate Gilad’s freedom, how would all the other Israeli soldier’s feel? Now they know the value that their country and their people place on the life of every one of them. Now they will fight like lions.

  7. Luis Says:

    No Israeli PM have the option Not to free a soldier who is POW or was kidnaped ,if he can free him. This Prime Minister took a great decision and a very right one. That kid is now back at his home with his beloved family. More than that : the people of Israel found himself again. Yesterday was like a national celebration here , in Israel . We found our courage again. We regain our dignity again in front of ourselves. Wishing all a great holiday , Luis .

  8. David Says:

    Mr. Gibson,

    1. “They are not worth the rotting carcass of a dead dog. They ain’t worth nothing.” That logic dictates that ALL convicted Palestinian terrorists, murderers, prisoners should be left free. After all, they are worth nothing. Do you agree?
    2. …”but if Hamas merely want excrement in exchange for him.” Do you really think so low of Hamas’s political and/or military thinking re the exchange? Their gained political capital, because they can “bring home” 1,000 “heroes.” They increase their ranks with experienced terrorists with their loyalty to Hamas. Stated differently, is Hamas that stupid since it wants “excrement?”
    3. “…we are not afraid of a thousand cowardly terrorists roaming free.” Do you mean roaming free, drinking margaritas at the beach side, reading Plato and Aristotle? Or roaming free to murder, maim, blow up and destroy another 5,000 or 10,000 (you name the number, which so far you refused? I understand (albeit disagree) with your point of view. It is a valid point to tell the present and future soldiers that you will not be left behind, because it (a) increases their morale, (b) gives them confidence in their service to the nation, etc., (c) maybe, just maybe provides some, albeit debateable under Talmudic law, moral justification (our 1 soldier is worth 1,000 Arabs and we care about our kids while they don’t). That makes sense. However, you won’t accept that these terrorists will murder again. That’s what is striking! You can’t admit that more Israelis will be murdered and injured.
    4. I have a feeling you did not vote for Bibi and don’t plan to vote for him either. :) Even though he effectively freed Mr. Shalit.
    5. If Israel continues this “exchange” mechanism, after 4-5 soldiers Israel will release 4,000-5,000 prisoners. (I assume there are 4,000-5,000 prisoners. If there are 10,000, the number of soldiers will increase proportionally.) After all prisoners are exchanged, what would you offer for exchange? I noticed that Jerusalem and Tel Aviv are off the table. For now.


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