Wednesday, December 1st | 27 Kislev 5782

June 30, 2010 5:52 pm

How to Free Gilad Shalit

avatar by Dovid Efune


Protesters, campaigning for the release of Gilad Shalit. Photo: Lilach Danie.

The Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) revealed on Monday, seven Israeli Arabs affiliated with Al Qaeda and Global Jihad were arrested for allegedly murdering a taxi driver last year. They also revealed that the terrorists were apprehended before they could carry out their next plan – kidnapping an IDF soldier.

Consider putting yourself in the shoes of a terrorist mastermind plotting your next attack and how best to go about it, you may very well begin to understand why the option of capturing Israeli soldiers is so appealing and thus preferred.

Here are some of the advantages of holding captive an Israeli citizen over other acts of terrorism:

1.       The chances of remaining alive through a military kidnapping operation are considerably higher than with a suicide bombing, shooting or bulldozer attack.

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2.       While still maintaining the fundamental principle of striking indiscriminate fear in the hearts of the victims, capturing an IDF soldier comes across as far more humane than a suicide bombing, as a soldier is considered a military target as opposed to a civilian one. Additionally there is less likely to be bloody imagery of the barbaric act splashed across the front pages of various media outlets.

3.       The likelihood of receiving something tangible in return, such as the release of prisoners is very high. As a MK recently mentioned; “it is the best bargain in the Middle East.”

4.       One of the primary objectives of international terror groups is recognition for their cause and agendas.  When the family and supporters of a captured soldier are constantly headline news, the terror organization is privy to such recognition on an ongoing basis.

5.       The political leverage that can be generated through holding an Israeli soldier captive is remarkable.  As demonstrated by Gilad Shalit whose captivity has become a large issue of political campaigns in Israel, Israeli politicians are often held in a vice for all practical purposes over the issue of soldiers in captivity by the heavy weight of public opinion.

For the past few days, the family of Gilad Shalit together with friends and supporters has been engaged in a protest march launched on the day of the 4th anniversary of his capture. Police estimated that 10,000 marchers participated in the first day of the procession, when the Shalit family left their home in Mitzpeh Hila, in the north of the country. The procession is scheduled to end outside the Prime Minister’s residence in Jerusalem.

It was reported in Haaretz on Sunday that Netanyahu demanded that the cabinet evince a “firm stance” against the anticipated public pressure generated by the march, in the belief that a tougher approach in the face of Israeli public opinion will compel Hamas to moderate its demands in the prisoner swap negotiations.

It is hard to imagine what the Shalit family is going through, four years of torment and turmoil, sleepless nights and constant anguish, unsure of the wellbeing of their son, and what will become of him.

Noam Shalit has mentioned many times that all that matters is results. Additionally his family more than anyone else, will also want to ensure that no other will ever have to endure their pain, and would want their son to be freed in a fashion that doesn’t facilitate the future kidnapping of young Israeli soldiers.

It is for that reason that I would point out to all those who are actively pressuring the Israeli government to work towards the release of Gilad Shalit to be specific in their demands, and what they would like the Netanyahu government to do. If results are the aim, then maybe this is what they should be asking for:

1.       Inform Hamas authorities that until the release of Gilad Shalit, no visits will be allowed for Hamas prisoners in Israeli jails, except the Red Cross.

2.       The vast majority of the Hamas leadership directly has Israeli blood on their hands; Israel should pledge to begin assassinating them one by one until Shalit is released.

3.       Tighten the blockade of Gaza, yes, tighten the blockade of Gaza! The people of Gaza will need to be shown that there are consequences for supporting the leadership of a terror group that holds captive young Israeli men, meting out endless torment to their families.

Netanyahu made his political career in teaching the west how to win the battle against terrorism, and the first step was always never negotiate with terror; he should know what to do better than anyone else.

The Author is the director of the Algemeiner Journal and the GJCF and can be e-mailed at [email protected]

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