I believe that over the past four years since Gilad was kidnapped,successive Israeli governments have indeed failed to do the maximum to secure his release – but that maximum does not mean paying any price Hamas demands. Israel should take action to ensure that the same kind of pressure from within that is being exerted on Benyamin Netanyahu, should also be exerted on Hamas. Terrorists in Israeli gaols should be stripped of their privileges – no access to TV, radio and newspapers, no Open University studies, no family visits. In addition – since Gilad Shalit has been denied Red Cross visits – these should be withheld from the security prisoners also. Likewise, lawyers’ visits. They have already been convicted, what further need have they of lawyers? They should also be held incommunicado and in solitary confinement. Just as no news of Gilad has reached his family, let the families of the security prisoners agonise daily about the fate of their loved ones. In fact, a proposed law curtailing the privileges of Hamas criminals in Israeli gaols was submitted to the Knesset well over a year ago, but the government has been dragging its feet over promoting it.
On the very day that the young daughter of a senior Hamas official was permitted to enter Israel, accompanied by her family, for medical treatment at an Israeli hospital, Hamas released a cartoon video mocking Gilad Shalit and his family! I don’t say the little girl should have been taken hostage (since we are not Hamas and wouldn’t sink to their level), but I see no reason why adult family members of Hamas leaders should not be taken hostage for Gilad’s safe return (most of them are Hamas members themselves, anyway). And another thing – there should be NO easing of the siege of Gaza as long as Gilad is denied Red Cross visits. Let’s have a situation where Hamas is under pressure from their own people, a levelling of the playing field.
This is the only language Hamas understands. The alternative is to capitulate to Hamas demands, free hundreds of convicted murderers and let them back into Israel, Judaea and Samaria, thereby encouraging the abduction of more Israeli soldiers. Furthermore, past experience has shown that a large percentage of terrorists released in such prisoner exchanges return to terrorism.
There is no easy way out of the dilemma for Benyamin Netanyahu. But the Israeli government owes it to us all – to the family of Gilad Shalit, as well as to the families of those murdered by the terrorists whose release is now being demanded by the Hamasnazis – at least to try.