a different side of Israel

Allen Johnston and Gilad Shalit

Wednesday’s “miraculous” release of kidnapped British journalist Allen Johnston, and his appreciation to the efforts of the Hamas organization in gaining his release from a shadowy Palestinian extremist group, the Army of Islam, only continues to point out the absurdities between this episode and the continued captivity of a young Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit. Johnston. Looking tired and pale, but otherwise in relatively good health, Johnston couldn’t have enough kudos to express in regards to his appreciation for the efforts that Hamas was supposed to have made to secure his release.

No sooner had Johnston finished expressing his appreciation, in the midst of a meal prepared by “former” PA prime minister Ismail Haniyah, than Johnston was whisked off to Jerusalem to present a special message from Hamas to Israeli governmental authorities. The “special message” is alleged to be one regarding a potential release of Corporal Shalit, who recently passed his first full year as a prisoner of what appears to be the same group who held Johnston for nearly four months. No sooner had Johnston been released from captivity, Hamas’s spokesman said in an ITV interview that Shalit’s possible release was “a different situation” and that the price Israel would have to pay to gain the young soldier’s release was going to be much different than the one that resulted in Johnston’s release, which was only a handful of ‘prisoners’ being held by both Hamas and the Army of Islam.

Judging from all the media attention that was given to Johnston’s release, it is a wonder whether this event might have been staged in order to put Hamas in a better light with the world media. So far, this hasn’t appeared to have worked as U.S. President George Bush said that the act on behalf of Hamas still doesn’t take the heat off of what is still regarded in the USA as a terrorist organization. Shalit, from whom a brief tapped message was recently given over by his captors, is reported to be in bad health and is suffering from a variety of ailments, some of which may have been inflicted on the day of his capture on June 26, 2006. The torment that has been inflicted on Shalit’s family, as well as on the entire Israeli population, has been played out during his long captivity and mostly likely orchestrated by a number of people, including possibly Al Qaeda operatives who are reported to be receiving instructions “from Afghanistan”.

The price that will have to eventually be paid to secure Shalit’s release could involve literally hundreds of Palestinian prisoners being released from Israeli prisons; many of whom with “blood on their hands”.

As for Johnston, he will soon arrive back in his native England and will undoubtedly continue to express his undying appreciation to the Hamas organization for securing his release. If and when Cpl. Shalit is released, will he also have someone to thank for efforts made to secure his release? At present that “someone” has yet to present themselves as Israeli government officials, particularly Prime Minister Olmert, have not yet presented an offer attractive enough to satisfy Shalit’s captors. And meanwhile, the Qassam rockets still fall into Israel and Israeli military forces again conduct operations against Hamas and other organizations in Gaza.

As British author Charles Dickens once wrote in his novel, A Tale of Two Cities: “It was the best of times, and it was the worst of times” in regards to the conflict between two separate entities. One wonders what Dickens would have written concerning the fates of the two individuals mentioned in this article. Who would be Charles (Evremonde) Darnay, and who would be Sydney Carton? We’ll let you, the reader, figure this one out.

1 Comment

  1. Only one very important thing is missing in this scenario, especially if one were to actually compare this with the characters in Dicken’s novel.

    Johnston didn’t trade places with Shalit as Carton did with Evremonde.And Johnston certainly isn’t saying: “Tis a far, far better thing I do now, than I have ever done”.

    For Israelis, it would have been exillerating to see Shalit freed instead of Johnston. This didn’t happen, however.

    Johnston was simply too happy to have himself freed, and was willing to play along with Haniysh’s little game.

    As for Shalit, we can only hope and pray that his turn comes as well.

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