Many people in Israel nowadays think of our captive solider Gilad Shalit especially in light of recent discussions on potential prisoner exchange deal with Hamas. Everyone usually have their own take on the topic with many many pros and cons. Our cabinet of ministers, 7 at number including our prime minister have set down to decide on a response to the requests from Hamas and I am pretty sure it was not easy seat.
To describe the conflict of the decision as I see it here is my rationale and opinion on the deal which of course is not neutral of emotions (what can I do I am a real human being). I'll try to address all the concerns I have heard from other Israelis until now:
In general I have several perspectives and I will state them in a descending order of importance (sorry for the cruel rationality)
- I feel for Gilad. Although I do not know him personally, he looks like many other young Israelis and I really hate to see him suffer this way. He is very young, his family is very sympathetic and patient; in terms of human suffering and specifically suffering of an Israeli it is definitely wrong.
- I think there is a a moral issue here as an Israeli and as a nation built on a strong army. Our best man and women sacrifice their best years, their health and sometime their lives for making sure the rest of the Israelis stay well in this hostile area. For their contribution they deserve to know that when they will be caught they will get the best efforts to save them. I think that the level of sacrifice a person is willing to take on himself is correlated directly to the price a collective is willing pay in case of a needed rescue. If Israel will stop its so called "jewish" behavior for giving aways many arab prisoners for few Israelis then something will be lost and that would be the special level of morale Israelis have.
- We should have found out where he is located and should have tried to rescue him in a military operation. He is a solider left in the battlefield and the math of risk incurred in such a rescue operation is not relevant now as it is not relevant during battle time.
- I think that Hamas knows how to play this captive solider card pretty well and they are doing a good job at making sure it hurts us every day again and again. I think the gain they would get from keeping him on their side and keep on torturing us on the media will be higher for them then releasing him for many prisoners.
- I am not really against releasing the Palestinians prisoners in general. I know there are few who have committed notable crimes against Israel and Israelis; where the decision to release them is not easy but in general the idea that our tax payers money is giving them worm clothes and food sounds to me like a bad idea. Sadly I can say that anyway, sometime we will have a new operation or war and we can always take some new ones.
- As for the Israelis that lost family members due to the terrorist acts of few of the prisoners that are going to be released my opinion is pretty simple: living people are worth more then revenge and revenge won't bring back the dead. I am pretty sure that for them this conflict is the worse since I am convinced that they care for Gilad not less then others but the personal pain is big.
- As for the Israelis who have become strategic masterminds on what would be the right "cost" per captive now I have got one thing to say: calm down! There are living people here on stake and the whole price tag and its future effect is not something that even the head of state cannot solve easily. We have paid not a long time ago a huge price tag for a civilian who was kidnapped and is thought of as notorious by some of the Israelis and now when we have chance to rescue a live soldier it is not the time to become wise merchants. Let the deal settle down, start a national debate on it, go on demonstration, do whatever you need but not on the back of one captive solider.
- There is a going assumption that goes "If we give them now 1000 prisoners they will try to kidnap more soldiers". Well, I think it is quite OK to assume that they do whatever they can to kidnap more soliders already NOW. Gilad Shalit has given Hamas more air time on national and worldwide news channels then almost anything else they did so I guess it is worth to them already.
- The western world (where Israel is part of it) does not play by the same rules of the game or sometimes not even in the same game as Hamas do. For example when they have got on Israeli prisoner they treat him like a captive and they put him for more 1200 days under the ground with no daylight while on the other hand we allow family visits and I heard some even get complementary high school classes. I do not regret the fact that I am more civilized but I am aware that sometime when I lose the game for Hamas such as in the case of a captive solider I need to pay the price in full.
- One of the most annoying things I heard was "Gilad could have resisted more to the capturers or in other words it is his fault" - I can only say that I am not sure I would have done better then him so I am pretty envy of the true "heros" who say this.
I guess there are more but at least these are the main that come to my mind.