Gilad Shalit and the Chilean miners

The 33 Chilean miners were underground for 69 days. Much of the world focused its attention on them, while no effort or cost was spared to get them out into the light after the nightmarish accident that buried them.

Gilad Shalit has been underground for one thousand, five hundred and seventy-four days today (he was taken on June 25, 2006).

He is alone in a bunker somewhere in Gaza, without 32 friends, without communication with his family, and probably believes that he has been forgotten.

His entombment was not an accident, like the explosion that trapped the miners. It was a purposeful act perpetrated by creatures that I can confidently call the scum of the earth.

The President of Chile personally involved himself in the project to free the miners. Other world leaders supported it as well.

In the case of Shalit, the current President of the US applied pressure to Israel to end Operation Cast Lead in time for his inauguration, without rescuing Shalit or overthrowing the Hamas regime. Later, the US, UN, EU etc. combined to force Israel to end its limitation on goods flowing into Gaza, thus legitimizing Hamas and guaranteeing its continuation in power.

A way to save Shalit is to make his continued captivity so painful for Hamas leaders that they will be happy to release him. There are ways to do this: perhaps a complete cutoff of fuel, electricity, and water to Gaza, with the understanding that the embargo will be lifted the instant Shalit is safe. If there is a ‘humanitarian crisis’ as a result, it will be entirely the fault of Hamas.

The people and authorities in Chile did not simply declare the miners dead and move on. They used extraordinary means to save them. So should we.

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