If you read this blog religiously, or even secularly but often, then you may have noticed that I don’t cover the Gilad Shalit issue all that often. I don’t give updates, and I generally avoid commenting on the topic. There is a reason for this. I assume, and rightly I believe, that the government of Israel does not need any pressure in order to push a deal through for Shalit. In fact, any pressure exerted by any “Free Gilad” campaign is counterproductive and irresponsible.
When someone has something you very much want, and you have to pay for it dearly, then to have your friends badger you about making a deal to get it just ups the price. The other side sees you are under pressure, and feels it can increase its demands.
Who are the Free Gilad troupe protesting? More precisely, WHAT are they protesting when they march for Gilad’s release? Are they assuming that the sitting government would rather he sit in his hellhole in Gaza?
The force of their protests is quite Orwellian actually. They say they want Gilad’s release, as if anyone in Israel doesn’t. I say, though they want Gilad’s release, that’s not really what they’re protesting. They’re not rallying against Hamas to free him, as if Haniyeh and Zahar cared at all what the Jews want.
What they’re really doing is protesting the government’s reluctance to release murderers. What they really want is the release of terrorists, nothing else. I’m not blaming them for this. But I am saying that if they want this, then they should be brave and say it, out loud, if that’s what they really believe is best. Stop chanting “Free Gilad” as if you’re talking to Hamas, and start chanting “Free the Murderers!” Use the correct language and picket the Prime Minister’s residence with signs that say “Bibi – release murderers NOW!” Granted, it would look odd and arguably embarrassing. But that’s precisely the point. They don’t want to say what they actually want, because what they really want scares them. They’d rather mask it in language that everyone can agree with but few truly understand. That is, “Free Gilad“.
I’m willing to bet that if this government attempted a rescue operation and Gilad was heaven forbid killed, these groups would protest the incompetency of the government, claiming that “wasn’t what they meant” when they chanted “Free Gilad!” I say, if it’s not what you mean, make it clear starting now. Chant in favor of releasing 1,000 murderers, and then at least you are being honest with yourselves and with us.
But here’s my idea. It was reported today in several papers that Israel does indeed know exactly where Shalit is being held. The problem is, the building is surrounded with explosives that will be detonated by remote if soldiers get too close. Now, of course I haven’t worked out a whole plan by any means. But part of what needs to be done in a possible rescue attempt would be to shoot an electromagnetic pulse that would shut down any electronic transmissions in the area, making remote detonation impossible.
They’d have to clear the area of as many terrorists as possible beforehand, and it wouldn’t be easy. I’m willing to admit that it would probably fail. But I think it would be smarter than releasing 1,000 terrorists around Palestinian election time to ensure a Hamas victory and trigger a third intifada, with many more kidnappings in the cards.