The best way to save Gilad Schalit

Gilad on his first day in the IDFThere is a whole genre of literature in which someone makes a deal with the Devil. Usually the protagonist gets the short end of the stick in one way or another.

According to Channel 10, a Hamas representative warned on Sunday that if Israel did not agree to a deal, [kidnapped Israeli soldier Gilad] Schalit was in danger of suffering the same fate as airman Ron Arad, who disappeared in 1988 after he had been held captive in Lebanon for two years.

Hamas is reportedly demanding some 1,000 Palestinian prisoners for the release of Schalit, who was kidnapped by the group along the Gaza border in June 2006. Initially it had asked for 450 prisoners but upped the ante following Israel’s release last month of Lebanese terrorist Samir Kuntar, four Hizbullah prisoners and the bodies of 200 terrorists and infiltrators for the bodies of Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev.  — Jerusalem Post

Much as it’s tempting to say “see! I told you so”,  Hamas would certainly have found another reason to increase its demands if not for the unfortunate deal with Hezbollah. In case you hadn’t noticed, nothing is ever enough in these situations. The Devil will have your soul.

I don’t believe that after all this time Israeli security forces do not know where Schalit is being held. Since he hasn’t been rescued, therefore, it must be because an operation to free him is judged too costly with too low a probability of freeing him alive. Maybe they have him rigged with explosives.

So, let’s see. We can’t ransom him and we can’t rescue him. But we can’t abandon him. Is there another alternative?

We can change the basic premises under which we are working. We can stop asking how much Israel will have to pay for his release and start asking how much Hamas will have to pay if it continues to keep him.

The first thing to do will be to break off ransom negotiations and explain the new conditions to Hamas.  Then, Israel can start killing Hamas operatives and destroying its assets with the understanding that the temporary truce will  be reinstated when Schalit is released. If he is not released, higher ranking officials and more important assets will be targeted. They should understand that if he is harmed, the price they pay will be immense.

In this way, not only can Shalit be saved, but the dangerous precedent by which terror organizations can obtain great concessions simply by kidnapping Israelis can be reversed.

Naturally the peace-loving nations of the world will insist that this is illegal, barbaric, etc. There is a simple answer: Hamas can release Gilad Schalit, whom they are holding in conditions that violate the Geneva convention, and then there will be peace.

Israel is asked to release thousands of prisoners as ‘gestures’, dismantle settlements, withdraw from half of its capital, and on and on in the interest of ‘peace’. So surely Hamas can be asked to make one small ‘gesture’ for peace.

And if it doesn’t, there will not be peace for Hamas. The opposite.

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One Response to “The best way to save Gilad Schalit”

  1. Shalom Freedman says:

    I don’t believe there is a good answer to question of how to rescue Gilad Shalit. To break the truce, and begin killing Hamas operatives is to once again expose Sderot to rocket- fire, to once again push towards greater violence. Moreover I don’t think ‘Hamas’ will learn anything.
    But I do agree that our signaling our total desperation in regard to Shalit, our signaling that we are willing to do anything and everything to free him is disastrous for us.
    I believe however harsh it sounds that we have to take a different approach when Hizollah- like and Hamas-like organizations take our prisoners. We have to drastically lower our expectations and not allow ourselves to be dictated to by the rightfully distressed, and willing to concede everything, parents.