# 131 – Gilad Schalit by Stephen Pohlmann - Ourboox.com
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# 131 – Gilad Schalit

Helping others to understand Israel - and Israelis to understand others...
  • Joined Sep 2016
  • Published Books 409
1

December 23, 2009

Be honest now – What would you do in our place?

It seems that, within the next few ‘few hours’, Gilad Schalit will be released.

Some of the recipients of my Letters comment that I often touch subjects in the presumption that you know the background to the subject. That is possibly true, and by definition becomes one of the main reasons why I write this Letter.

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Gilad Schalit is in the (Israeli) news every day, and ‘often’ in the international media.  Yet, and without any criticism from me, much of said news goes in one ear and out the other.  I still use the following to illustrate that theme:

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When talking to ‘outsiders’ about the political situation here, and the ‘natural’ lack of knowledge they have, I ask them to guesstimate the distance between my home, less than 1 km. from the Tel Aviv seashore, and the West Bank, the location of the future Palestinian state. The answers vary from the truth to perhaps 500 km. (The truth is about 15 km as the crow flies).

 

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OK, who is Gilad Schalit. Here’s the Wikipedia bit:

Gilad Shalit (Hebrew: גלעד שליט‎, born 28 August 1986) is an Israeli soldier who was captured[2] on 25 June 2006 by Palestinian militants in a cross-border raid. He was abducted[3] through the Kerem Shalom crossing (in Israel), and has been held as a prisoner in the Gaza Strip by Hamas since.

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Shalit, 19 years old at the time of his capture, held the rank of corporal in the IDF’s Armor Corps at the time of his abduction, but has since been promoted to staff sergeant.[1]

He was the first Israeli soldier captured[4][5] by Palestinian militants since Nachshon Wachsman in 1994.[6] Shalit holds French citizenship, a fact that encouraged France and the European Union to be involved to some extent in efforts to release him.[7] He also received Italian citizenship after his abduction.[8][9][10][11][12][13]

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Hamas has refused requests from the International Committee of the Red Cross to allow the ICRC to visit Shalit. Several human rights organizations have stated that the terms and conditions of Shalit’s detention are contrary to international humanitarian law. In exchange for his release, Hamas is demanding the release of 1,000 Palestinian prisoners held in Israel, including many convicted of deadly terrorist attacks against Israelis.[14][15][16][17][18][19][20][21] The United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict, which released a report in September 2009, called for Shalit to be released.[22]

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Now you know….

Today’s Jerusalem Post, normally to the right, but basically a very fair and open newspaper, said in its editorial: “…Netanyahu must reverse course. The killers should remain incarcerated; if they don’t, more Israelis will surely die”.

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One of you good friends out there has often criticized me for becoming emotional when referring to the ‘wall’ Israel has built (security fence, actually), which cuts through Palestinian homes, gardens, orchards, villages etc. My response is often …at least my daughters are alive. It’s my reaction to what seems, in context, so ‘disproportional’ (nice to give that word the opposite meaning for once).

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But do so few people see just what is happening here. Remember the good old days…In ‘Rio Bravo, the John Wayne movie, there was also a hostage exchange. I believe it was the Dean Martin character for the baddie. That hostage swap scene became quite famous. Now…try to imagine the same scene, but instead of 1 baddie, there are around 1,000 of them. ‘Rio Bravo’ would enter the Guinness Book of Records for film length.

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But that’s exactly what’s happening. We are succumbing to all pressures and are planning to release that number of Palestinians, around half of whom are convicted terrorists, guilty of the worst crimes. What’s horrible is that we’ve done this before. So, not only are we continuing that precedent, we are doing so in the full knowledge that perhaps 50% of those released are likely to go back to what they were doing before – and more will be killed and maimed.

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Even the less extreme Fatah faction of the Palestinians is concerned, as the released prisoners are all Hamas members. The release will be popular among the people (remember the disgraceful reception for the released Lockerbie bomber in Libya) and that will hurt Fatah’s image and influence.

I dream, even these minutes, of an Entebbe-like rescue mission, where the hostage in this case is only a short jeep’s drive away.

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I hope, at this last minute, that Israeli politics will come to its senses and stop the negotiations in their tracks –

No to the Palestinians demands that they be released ‘where they choose’

For every hour – or even minute – that they delay further, chop names off their list of prisoners to be released – from the top.

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Start to give the Palestinian prisoners the same privileges as those given to Gilad Schalit. That starts with no visits, not even from the Red Cross. Then, no TV recreation rooms, decent meals etc. etc. How can we be so naïve and pathetic?

And the World still says little or nothing, finding it impossible to imagine how they, the individual countries, would react under the same circumstances.

14

Of course we feel for the Schalit family. The parents, Noam and Aviva, have become household names and faces. But their tragic circumstances cannot be seen to supercede all other security considerations.

Let my dream come true….

 

Stephen

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