By Vic Rosenthal
Noam Shalit, Gilad’s father, “knows by now not to get excited by every tale of Gilad being released soon”. Every day there’s a new report; the deal is on, the deal is off. Hamas has reportedly demanded as many as 1,500 prisoners to be traded for Shalit, many of them convicted murderers and including the assassin of Israeli cabinet minister Rehavam Ze’evi.
The negotiations are following Middle Eastern bazaar rules in which a powerful desire of one party is exploited by repeatedly dangling and snatching away the object of desire to raise the price. There is enormous cruelty to Gilad and his family, but of course Hamas doesn’t care.
In years past, Israel did not negotiate with terrorists, and they should not do so now. Acceptance of a deal means that there are no consequences for murdering Jews, since there can (will) always be another kidnapping and another prisoner release. It means that Israel is weak and will not respond to terrorism. It means that Israel is not a sovereign state. Of course, this policy is also clear from Israel’s ‘restraint’ in the face of Kassam missile attacks.
Israel should implement a death penalty for those convicted of terrorist murders, and Israel should respond to kidnappings and terrorism with military force that will not be ‘restrained’ until hostages are returned and missile fire stops.
Otherwise the long-term price will be far higher.