Tuesday, October 18, 2011
Reflections on Shalit-Terror Deal
Doing Business with Terrorists -Daniel Pipes, PhD [pictured]
That Gilad Schalit has been released after five years of captivity by Hamas brings joy to anyone who watches the Israeli soldier's reunion with his parents and the ecstatic welcome he received by his countrymen. It also reminds one of the Israel Defense Forces' noble purpose in doing all it can to stand by its men.
But joy is tempered by bitter realities...
Leaders who place the concerns of one individual over the interests of the country betray their mandate and poison its future. Israeli politicians have been making these lopsided swaps since 1982, releasing over ten thousand Palestinians serving prison sentences for terrorist or other hostile actions. Each time they do, they forsake principle and common sense for short-term benefits.
Shame on them.
[National Review Online]
Gilad Shalit's Release: A Heavy Hearted Celebration -Rabbi Avi Weiss [pictured]
Gilad Shalit has come home. Is this a time for euphoria or upset?
The head tells us that this is a terrible deal.
The lopsided exchange may lead to more terrorism, more Israeli deaths. Nadav Shragi, in a report by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs analyzed the aftermath of the exchange in 2004 of hundreds of Palestinian prisoners for an Israeli soldier held captive. According to Shragi, "those freed in the deal murdered 35 Israelis" by 2007. And of course, the lopsided exchange may inspire more hostage takings, more kidnappings, more ransoms to be paid.
But, the heart -- the heart feels differently. Today, Gilad Shalit is not just a soldier. Today, Gilad is not only the son of Aviva and Noam, he is everyone's son. He is everyone's brother. The exchange is not only an exchange of over a thousand terrorists for one soldier, it is an exchange of a thousand for Gilad-- the symbol of every soldier.
So which is it? Is the release of Gilad a time of sadness, or joy? Is it a time of upset, or elation? Is it the time to mourn with the mind or celebrate with the heart.
Ecclesiastes writes: "everything has its season...a time to weep and a time to laugh...a time to wail and a time to dance,...a time to rent garments and a time to mend." Ecclesiastes seems to be saying that there are distinct times for each of these emotions.
Yehuda Amichai, the great Israeli poet, understands it differently. He writes: "Ecclesiastes was wrong about that...A person needs to love and hate at the same moment. To laugh and cry with the same eyes..."
Jewish Law marks this phenomenon when it asks that at the height of our greatest joy, at a wedding itself, that we break a glass to remember the shattered Temples, the shattered human temples, that need fixing.
A mother’s pain -Sherri Mandell [pictured]
Why is it that terror victims are seemingly the only ones against the prisoner exchange? While other Israelis are rejoicing, we are in despair.
Arnold and Frimet Roth circulated a petition against the release of Ahlam Tamimi, an accomplice in their daughter Malki’s murder at the Sbarro pizza shop.
Why are so many of us against the exchange? Because we know the suffering that these murderers leave in their wake. Yes, I want Gilad Schalit released. But not at any price. Not at the price we have experienced.
My son Koby Mandell and his friend Yosef Ish Ran were murdered by terrorists 10 years ago when they were 13 and 14 years old. They had been hiking in the wadi near our home when they were set upon by a Palestinian mob and stoned to death. It was a brutal, vicious murder.
Most people don’t understand the continuing devastation of grief: the pain that doesn’t diminish with time.
Cheapening our loved ones’ deaths only enhances the pain. If Israel is willing to free our loved ones’ murderers, then the rest of the world can look on and assume that the terrorists are really freedom fighters or militants. If Palestinians were murdering Jews in cold blood without justification, surely the Israeli government wouldn’t release them.
No sane government would.
When we were sitting shiva for Koby, a general in the army told us: “We will bring the killers to justice.” I believed him. I took his words to heart. Today I am thankful my son’s killers have not been found. So are my children. Of course, I don’t want the terrorists to kill again. But if they were to be released in this prisoner exchange, I don’t think I could bear it.
We have been betrayed. To pardon terrorists mocks our love and our pain.
The writer is the mother of Koby Mandell, who was stoned to death near his home in Tekoa in 2001.
Will the World Ask Why Palestinians Celebrate Murder? -Jonathan S. Tobin [pictured]
Mass rallies and celebrations are being planned in Ramallah to celebrate the freedom of those who were convicted of mass murders.
What ought to be discussed is the upside-down ethos of Palestinian political culture in which the spilling of Jewish blood grants the killer not only absolution but also heroic status. Rather than ask why Israel is willing to trade so many terrorists for one soldier, the world should be asking why the Palestinians are cheering the release of sociopaths.
Israel's Deals with the Devils -Robert H. Mnookin [pictured]
What explains Israel's decision to release 1,000 Palestinian prisoners in exchange for a single Israeli corporal kidnapped by Hamas in a cross-border raid in 2006 and held hostage in Gaza?
There is a long line of psychological research showing that, in making decisions, human beings will incur far greater costs to save one identifiable being from immediate peril than to enact safety measures that might save many more statistical lives. While no expense will be spared to save an identifiable miner trapped in a coal mine, there is often great political reluctance to spend an equal amount on mine safety. Such a response is entirely human, but it is not rational.
The writer is chair of Harvard University's Program on Negotiation. His most recent book is Bargaining with the Devil: When to Negotiate, When to Fight (2010).
(Wall Street Journal Europe)