I wanted to wait a week before writing about this topic because of how high emotions were following Gilad Shalit’s release. For those that are not aware, Israel recently agreed to release 1,027 Palestinians militants in exchange for one Israeli soldier that had been kidnapped 5 years earlier. Those released militants were responsible for countless acts of terrorism and several have already vowed to commit more such acts in the future. Even though I felt joy and relief for Shalit's family when I heard the news, I was also overtaken by an immense feeling of sadness. My sadness stemmed from the realization that a country I have love and admiration for, Israel, had just undertaken another step in its long walk towards suicide.
The United States has long had a policy of not negotiating with terrorists because of the consequences of doing so. On the other hand, Israel, mostly due to pressure from America and Europe, has spent years doing the exact opposite. Israel has made agreement after agreement, concession after concession, and sacrifice after sacrifice while negotiating with terrorists in the hopes that it will somehow lead to peace. Instead, these deals have led to countless Israeli deaths and a continuously growing threat. The mistake that Israel and the people who try to force more deals upon it make is failing to realize that Israel has no partner for peace. People forget that the leader of the “moderate” portion of the Palestinian negotiations, Mahmoud Abbas, was the primary funder of the 1972 terrorist attacks in Munich. For years Israel was negotiating with Yasser Arafat, the godfather of modern terrorism. Even when there are deals made, the results have always been catastrophic for Israel. Israel agreed to withdraw from Gaza, following which it was bombarded by thousands of rockets. Israel allowed the Palestinians to have their own security forces, only to have those forces participate in countless attacks against Israeli civilians. The list goes on and on. Each time Israel gave up real concessions for the mere promise that it may be allowed to live in peace and each time it was met with more violence. Without going back into the history, it is clear Israel is dealing with people whose only goal is Israel’s destruction. No concession, short of suicide, will appease the Palestinian leadership. That is why the so-called “peace process” is absolutely worthless, because Israel is bidding against themselves. They are negotiating for a chance to give up more concessions in exchange for nothing. All of this leads me to the recent deal. Israel will release 1,027 terrorists in exchange for 1 soldier. Hamas has already announced that they will now target more soldiers for kidnappings. Israel has once again set a precedent that they will negotiate with terrorists and that terrorist acts will lead to results. This can only lead to one thing, more terrorism.
The sad reality is that more Israelis will die as a result of this deal. I do not blame Netanyahu completely and I certainly do not take seriously the criticism from Tzipi Livni (who would have released 3000 terrorists without blinking if she was in charge), but this march towards national suicide has to stop. At some point there has to be a realization by the Israelis that this path is not bringing them peace and no amount of outrage from the anti-Semitic and judgmental international community justifies the deaths that will result. For those that pose the ridiculous hypothetical of what if Shalit was in my family? I answer by asking what if the next soldier who is kidnapped because of this deal was in theirs? Or the next Israeli civilian killed by one of the released terrorists? There are no easy choices when lives are at stake, but decisions do need to be made. Some have asked me what I would have done if I was the one in charge, I would look to the principle that Israel applied of one Israeli life being equivalent to 1027 Palestinian militants and I would have applied it in reverse. Israel knows the locations of where most of the Hamas senior leadership lives. I would have sent in the tanks and destroyed house after house and killed militant after militant until Shilat was released, with the warning that if he is harmed than Israel will keep going until 1,027 Hamas militants are killed and 100 Hamas homes are destroyed. That would establish a new precedent and make Hamas think twice before attempting another kidnapping. That is how you deal with terrorism. I hope Israel learns its lesson before it walks too far down the path towards national suicide.