Thursday, 1 July 2010


As the parents of captured Israeli, Gilad Shalit, continue their march from their home in Moshav Hila in northern Israel to the office of Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, in Jerusalem a growing conflict of interest is gathering pace.

After more than four years in ineffective diplomacy to secure the release of Gilad they are demanding that the Israeli Government surrender to Hamas demands on a prisoner exchange in order to save their son.
They have repeatedly said that they expect the Government to take whatever steps are necessary to get the Israeli soldier released before it is too late. They quote the tragic fate of air force officer Ron Arad who was captured in Lebanon and was never seen again.

Thousands of Israelis have joined Gilad's parents in their long march on behalf of their missing son and Hamas has been quick to see the public pressure in Israel. They have hardened their demands and even threatened to increase the number of prisoners they insist must be released from Israeli jails.

Today, Prime Minister Netanyahu made a statement of sympathy for the fate of Gilad Shalit and understanding for the anquish of his family. He said that Israel is prepared to pay a very heavy price for the release of Gilad Shalit but added, not at any price.

In principle Israel is ready to release one thousand terrorists in return for Shalit. The stumblimg block is Israel's refusal to release Palestinian terorrists guilty of mass murder, such as the perpetrator of the Passover Massacre at Netanya's Park Hotel. 

Netanyhu reminded Israel that, following the last prisoner exchange when 400 Palestinians were released in 2004, it resulted in the murder of 27 Israelis when some of the released terrorists continued their murderous terror campaign against Israelis.

It is clear that Hamas's behaviour has been 'unacceptable and inhuman' as described by US Middle East envoy, George Mitchell.
Little has been done by international diplomats, the Red Cross, human rights organisations, on behalf of Gilad Shalit. Hamas in Gaza has not been put under duress to have Shalit released, or to allow him a visit by the Red Cross or any humanitarian body. Gilad Shalit has suffered solitary confinement since his capture in 2006.
Instead, the international community insists that more aid and more money should flow into Gaza to improve the living conditions of a population that voted the Islamic terror regime of Hamas into power.
Some in Israel view this as a fatal error of judgment that simply rewards terror and those that support it. It will strengthen, not weaken, the radical rule of Hamas as can be seen daily to those who care to see.

The internal debate within Israel over the price to be paid for Gilad Shalit's release is a terrible dilemma for any democracy, let alone for a country that has been fighting Palestinian and Islamic terror for decades. It is an issue that is tearing Israeli society apart, and Hamas is watching with glee.

The pressure will increase as the growing number of marchers approach Jerusalem. The target of the march should have been Gaza where Gilad Shalit remains captive and alone.

No comments: