Lessons of The Gilad Shalit Affair - collected analysis

Palestinian "armed-struggle" shows no sign of relenting against Israel's moral code.

Sober criticism from analysts around the world:

The Infernal Choice by Melanie Philips in the Daily Mail (UK)
An obscene moral equivalence has been established by this deal between the innocent and the guilty.
This equivalence is being played out in the coverage which describes the deal as a ‘prisoner swap’ or ‘prisoner exchange’ – more than 1000 Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails for one Israeli prisoner held by Hamas. But Shalit was a hostage, kidnapped in an act of illegal aggression by an organisation whose aim is the destruction of Israel and which allowed him not one visit by the Red Cross during his five year incarceration.

By contrast, the released Palestinians have not just been tried and punished according to due process of law, but include among their number not just those who have committed some of the worst terrorist atrocities in Israel’s history – such as the blowing up of Sbarro’s pizza restaurant in Jerusalem, where 16 people were murdered including five members of the Schijveschuurder family -- but even worse, some of the masterminds behind such atrocities.

Gilad reunited with father Noam Shalit at Tel Nof Air Base
The equivalence being drawn in the coverage of this deal reflects in turn the morally bankrupt ‘tit-for-tat’ analysis of the Arab war against Israel employed by so many in Britain and the west. For whenever Israel points out that any military action against the Palestinians is only in response to Palestinian attacks, many in Britain claim that those Palestinian attacks were only in response to previous Israeli attacks. Thus Israel is always painted as the ultimate aggressor.

This is entirely false. From the moment Israel was re-established in 1948, it has only ever launched military operations against the Arabs in response to actual or imminent Arab attacks. Yet many in Britain refuse to acknowledge the difference between murderous aggression and the defence against it.

They refuse to acknowledge that Hamas sets out to murder as many young Israelis as possible, whereas Israel goes to great lengths (not always successfully) to avoid civilian casualties. They refuse to acknowledge that the aim of every single military operation by Israel in Gaza is to defend and protect itself against attack by a fanatically Jew-hating enemy pledged not only to destroy Israel but to wipe out every single Jew on earth.

The refusal to acknowledge this crucial moral difference has meant that many in Britain and the west view Israel as the aggressor in the conflict, and the victimisation of Israelis is largely glossed over. So just as the anguish of Israeli terror victims’ families over the Shalit deal has been minimised by the media coverage – particularly in Israel itself, which reflects the malign nature of its own left-wing media class -- so the anguish of Israel itself as a state under permanent existential siege is routinely ignored, and Israel instead grotesquely portrayed as the aggressor in the region. . . .

What too many in Britain and the west still don’t understand is that what Israel is up against is what Britain and the west are now up against – not a violent campaign by people fighting for a state of their own but an Islamist cult of death, in which the murder of innocents is a cause for exultation and mass killers are lionised as heroes and religious martyrs, not just by Hamas but by the Fatah leadership in the West Bank too.

The five-year Shalit drama and its disturbing resolution have therefore come to symbolise the toxic cocktail of ignorance, misunderstanding, naivety, malice, cowardice, cynicism, incompetence and moral muddle by the so-called civilised world – including Israel itself -- that has actually served to perpetuate the Middle East impasse.

No decent person can fail to be moved by the return of Gilad Shalit to Israel. Few eyes will have been dry at his reunion with his family. Yet it has to be said that ultimately, this deal represents a triumph of heart over head and sentimentality over realism.  . . .

Israel is now trapped between Hamas, Fatah, Hezbollah, Iran, Syria, Egypt and the Mediterranean Sea – and yet is blamed for preventing peace by building apartments in the suburbs of Jerusalem. The infernal choice it was forced to make over Gilad Shalit was thus but the latest and most dramatic example of how the West has abandoned Israel to swing in the wind.  Read it all

The National Review Online published this analysis by Holocaust expert, Giulio Meotti

Israelis rallied to leaders to free kidnapped Gilad Shalit
(Photo courtesy: San Francisco Sentinel 12/21/09)
Since Israel allowed the PLO and its terror armies to move their bases from Tunis to Judea, Samaria, and Gaza in 1994, nearly 2,000 Israeli families have involuntarily paid the ultimate price in the “peace process.” The Shalit deal is a moral defeat- most especially for these families of the victims of terrorism: Israel just cancelled more than 900 life sentences to embrace again one soldier. Meir Schijveschuurder, who lost his parents and three of his siblings in the suicide bombing in the Sbarro restaurant in Jerusalem in 2001, yesterday declared against the deal: “We feel like a man who woke up in Germany a day after World War II.”

Terrorism is now sanctified throughout all the Palestinian areas. The streets are plastered with posters glorifying terrorists and suicide bombers. Children trade “martyr cards” the way Western children trade baseball cards. Necklaces with pictures of terrorists, many released today by Israel, are very popular. Signs on the walls of Palestinian kindergartens currently proclaim their pupils as “the martyrs of tomorrow.” Elementary-school principals commend their students for wanting to “tear their [Zionists’] bodies into little pieces and cause them more pain than they will ever know.” Unlike terrorists in other parts of the world, the Palestinian movement aspires to immortality and its violence is always “sacred.” That’s why the freed terrorists will return to kill the Jews.
(Photo: Salon.com)

The Almagor association revealed that 177 Israelis have been killed by prisoners released by Israel in previous deals. The Jews living in the settlements are afraid of a new round of killings. “Many terrorists have been allowed to return to live near our homes, it’s a shock and a disaster,” Hillel Weiss, professor of literature at Bar-Ilan University and a leader in the settlement community, tells me. The deal is a victory for terrorism, since Hamas can now justly demonstrate that killing Jews is infinitely more effective than negotiations in achieving their objectives. It will also be much easier to recruit terrorists when they are encouraged to believe that no matter how many Israelis they kill, there is every likelihood that, if apprehended, they will be released. 

Releasing the terrorists meant saving Gilad’s life, but it also means that more Jews will die and more soldiers will be kidnapped. Now many Israelis ask: How many more lives are to be sacrificed before the rest of the released men — and those to be released in future exchanges — are put behind bars again?  Appeasement breeds only death and destruction. Capitulating will culminate in greater disasters.

Five notes on the Schalit deal by Andrew Friedman in The Jerusalem Post 10/18/2011
Why did Noam and Aviva Schalit not turn to the Red Cross, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Brussels, Washington, London to help free their son?
One can certainly not fault the Schalit family for demanding the release of terrorists in light of Israel’s long history of making similar deals, nor the four-fifths of Israeli adults who supported the deal. But by nature, hostage crises require nerves of steel and a keen eye on the future.

Decisions, especially in situations of life-and-death, must be made as the result of cold, calculated reasoning.

Allowing emotions to overtake rational thinking is a recipe for disaster.  . . .

IN THE absence of a clear policy (to guide future hostage crises) for the future, I cannot understand why Israel only released 1,027 prisoners.

With thousands more still in Israeli jails and clear evidence that kidnapping Israelis is an effective – and acceptable to Israel – form of lobbying for their release, the clock is ticking on the next hostage situation. 

There is no reason to expect that Palestinian groups would end kidnapping operations and terror attacks were Israel to grant an across-the-board pardon to all Palestinian prisoners, but releasing them would at least remove one oft-mentioned Palestinian justification for kidnapping IDF soldiers. 

Having ceded the moral justification of keeping murderers behind bars, and agreed to sacrifice civilians in future in exchange for Schalit, it is hard to justify keeping some killers in jail while others have been released.
12 Arab-Israelis arrested at rally calling more kidnappings by Yaakov Lappin 10/20/2011
Some 40 people arrive at Hadarim Prison in Sharon to call for more kidnappings of IDF soldiers, freeing all Palestinian prisoners.

Gaza awaits the ships’ whistle
by Bassam Nasser 10/17/2011 

Prisoners include young and old, men and women, liberals and fundamentalists, Muslims, Christians and many more 

The vast majority of Israelis consider all elements of the Palestinian struggle as terrorist acts, but the Palestinians consider armed struggle the only path to liberty.

Throughout decades of Israeli occupation, more than 250,000 Palestinians have been arrested and spent time in Israeli jails. These prisoners include young and old, men and women, liberals and fundamentalists, Muslims and Christians, university professors and illiterates, doctors and cancer patients, lawyers and thieves, and Palestinians who hold Palestinian, Israeli, Jordanian, US and French nationalities. The list even includes people with no nationality at all.  . . .

Many parties are waiting to benefit from this swap, but most Gaza residents are dreaming today of the end of the siege now that Gilad Schalit is no longer held prisoner here. For us, the main question that remains is how long Gazans will have to wait to hear the whistle of ships anchored in the Gaza port. 
The writer is an aid worker and a native of the Gaza Strip.

Words of truth amidst a world of lies by Marc Belzberg 10/18/2011 
The killers we released are not deviants of Palestinian society. Rather, they are society itself.

The picture Bassam Nasser so proudly paints of Palestinian society, glaringly clarifies to all that the leaders of Gaza and its citizenry as a whole comprise one of the most despicable and detestable societies in the history of man.No Hollywood studio has ever created a villain as evil as the likes of Khaled Mashaal, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini or Hassan Nassrallah.
No Hollywood writer has ever written a script about an entire society of evil, millions of devout clones of a murderous, deviant ideology and eschatology.
The reality of Gaza today, and most of the Arab world, is too strange for fiction. 
Palestinians bombed Jerusalem Sbarro dining room
If you don’t believe me, take a five-minute stroll past the Hass Promenade in Jerusalem, one of the city’s most popular tourist stops, and you will witness a nearly unprecedented celebration in honor of the release 1,000 of the most despicable human beings ever born. Their supporters are dancing on cars, galloping through the streets on horses, shouting and screaming for joy. For what?   
To welcome the woman who planned and drove the suicide bomber to Sbarro and murdered 15 young Jews and wounded over 100, for the “crime” of eating pizza in downtown Jerusalem. Other idols of their society include the person who murdered the Dickstein parents and their nine-year-old son, Shuvael, leaving behind eight orphans, aged one-to-17 years old.  . . .
YOU CAN’T win a battle if you don’t know who the enemy is. I thank Nasser for so clearly describing the enemy we face; an entire society filled with hate, the desire to kill every Jew and every Westerner, with the hope of destroying the very moral ethic upon which we base our lives. It is an enemy with the primitiveness and intolerance that patiently executes its long term plan to violently impose a monolithic radical Islamic regime on every citizen of the world. Every Tom, Dick and Harry is their target. 
The enemy we must face up to is radical Islam. Or perhaps it is Islam itself? A number of years ago I participated in a small gathering with then US Ambassador to Israel Dan Kurtzer, who said that the United States is deeply studying this question and hasn’t yet concluded whether the problem is only radical Islam or whether the ideology is so pervasive that it is Islam itself.
Saving ‘Private’ Schalit and the defenseless Jewish state by Gil Troy in The Jerusalem Post 10/18/201

The world, it seems, wants a defenseless Jewish state, one that wouldn’t incarcerate those responsible for mass murderer. 
A defenseless Jewish state, of course, would be an overrun Jewish state, but, these days, taking responsibility for the implications of your political posturing is passé.
(T-shirt photo courtesy Jcrue.wordpress.com)
A country’s right of self-defense is as basic as an individual’s right to be free. For nearly two millennia, Jews could not defend themselves. Centuries of oppression followed, resulting in the Holocaust in Europe, and, ultimately, mass expulsions from the Arab world. Yet in only doubting one country, Israel, when it defends itself, world opinion is reverting to the traditional status quo, trying to keep Jews defenseless. 
Netanyahu should call on President Barack Obama to explain, after Israel releases 1027 convicted terrorists, why the United States can’t, for goodwill, release Jonathan Pollard, who has served longer than any other spy ever convicted for espionage benefiting an American ally.

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