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October 16, 2011 1:52 pm

Israel Celebrates Life – Militant Islam Celebrates Murder

avatar by Ronn Torossian

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Gilad Shalit on Hamas poster, Nablus. Photo: Tom Spender.

Saturday’s New York Times featured two articles side by side capturing the emotions of Israeli Jews & Palestinian Arabs surrounding the impending release of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit who was kidnapped 5 years ago at the tender age of 19  by terrorists and has been held hostage ever since. To major international fanfare, the Israeli Government and Hamas have seemingly reached an agreement – whereby Shalit is slated to be returned to Israel this week in exchange for Israel releasing 477 prisoners immediately, and 550 to follow two months later.

Amazingly, most media outlets have missed so much of this story, which as a consequence the world just hasn’t heard. A sickening, usual double standard.

1. In Israel, Shalit – whose family raised heaven and earth throughout Israel and the world in the hope of saving their sons’ life – will be returned. As Shalit’s family waits, Israel’s Defense Ministry, in an unprecedented move anticipating his return, resolved over the weekend to recognize him as a disabled veteran. As the Knesset member who passed the law said: “This decision will enable us as a country to provide the minimum for soldiers who return from captivity to return as much as possible to a normal life.” A normal life – that’s Israel’s way.

2. The response from ‘Israel’s partners’ is best summed up by referencing 1 of the 1,027 who is to be released – Ahlam Tamim who planned the Sbarro Jerusalem bombing and drove the suicide bombers to the location has said repeatedly that she is not sorry for what she did, and laughed when she was told that children were killed in the attack. Surely, re-integration into ‘society’ won’t be near the top of her agenda – one wonders how long will pass before she plans her next terrorist mission to kill Jews ? I wonder if that story will ever be told by Western Media outlets.

3. In captivity Shalit was granted none of the human rights due to an abducted soldier under the Geneva Conventions, which would include visits from the Red Cross and communication with family members. The world’s media has of course neglected to tell the story that all the terms and conditions of Shalit’s confinement have been contrary to international humanitarian law. Israel has done this deal – right or wrong – because they want to see one of their sons come home – but where have the world’s sanctioning bodies been on this outrage? One could only imagine the outcry had Israel acted similarly. Don’t worry, we will surely have another chance for redemption – Hamas has announced that this won’t be the last soldier they kidnap.

4. The Hamas government in Gaza is organizing a major outdoor rally to celebrate the release of these prisoners – which we have been told are security prisoners and not car thieves. The celebrations will include “military marches” involving hundreds of gunmen belonging to Hamas’s armed wing and the Popular Resistance Committees, one of the groups that took part in the kidnapping. Celebrating murderers and death.

5. In Israel, the mood is bittersweet. Sweet because Gilad will return home, but bitter because Israel is paying a very heavy price – 1,027 criminals released in exchange for just one soldier. Israelis can surely be reassured knowing that only sixty years after the Holocaust, the German National Intelligence party has announced that Germany’s role in the Shalit agreement is a source of ‘pride.’ – Take joy Jews in knowing that German officials are satisfied with the deal.

This is a golden opportunity for the few involved in Israel’s Public Relations to explain the background that these Palestinian terrorists have – and that Israel isn’t taking this action because it wants to – but doing so as a result of the belief that the life of even one Jew is holy. The media portrays this story as one of equal suffering on both sides – but terrorists simply aren’t equal to people acting in self defense. Somehow I don’t doubt that this story will, unfortunately, repeat itself yet again.

Ronn Torossian is CEO of 5WPR, 1 of the 25 largest PR firms in the US, and author of the just released PR book “For Immediate Release: Shape Minds, Build Brands, and Deliver Results with Game-Changing Public Relations.” Israeli MK Danny Danon (Likud) has said the book is “the best book I have ever seen on Israel PR.”

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