Free Gilad Shalit

On Sunday (June 27), the parents of abducted Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit (see previous blogs) set out on a march from their home in Mitzpeh Hila in the north, to Jerusalem, where they intend to camp outside the residence of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu until Gilad is released – in other words, until Netanyahu capitulates to the Hamas demands and releases every one of the hundreds of terrorists now serving time in Israeli gaols for the murder of countless Israeli civilians. It is hard not to sympathise with them – which is why they have been joined on their march by tens of thousands of ordinary citizens – but the Prime Minister of Israel cannot afford to make decisions based solely on emotion. The pressure being put on Netanyahu by this campaign only strengthens the hand of Hamas. Why should they make any concessions when all they have to do is sit back and let the Israeli public do their work for them? In fact, they have already increased their demands. Not only are they now refusing any further negotiation on the identity of the (convicted) terrorists to be released, they are refusing to compromise on their demand that once released, those terrorists should be allowed to return to their homes in Judaea and Samaria and even in Israel, rather than be deported to Gaza or abroad.

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.

                      FREE GILAD SHALIT! 



About Shimona from the Palace

Born in London, the UK, I came on Aliyah in my teens and now live in Jerusalem, where I practice law. I am a firm believer in the words of Albert Schweitzer: "There are two means of refuge from the sorrows of this world - Music and Cats." To that, you can add Literature. To curl up on the sofa with a good book, a cat at one's feet and another one on one's lap, with a classical symphony or concerto in the background - what more can a person ask for?
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