When Brian Burke made a multi-player swap to land Dion Phaneuf, it was pronounced that the Leafs won the trade since, of all the players dealt, the Leafs got the best one. Unfortunately, this logic doesn’t transfer well when dealing with terrorists.
Now that Israel has its longed after kid soldier they are in more danger than they used to be, though you would never know this hearing Ban Ki-moon, the United Nations’ Secretary-General: “This release will have a far-reaching positive impact to the stalled Middle East peace process.” Perhaps the moon isn’t only in Ban’s name, but his place of residence. To be fair, he’s in the UN, so preposterous statements are his mandate. I fail to see how rearming a sworn enemy with their fiercest combatants will help the cause of peace. Amongst those released are Yehive Sinwar, founder of Hamas’ military wing, and other notable vicious and vile perpetrators of mass murder who have been candid in their desire to kill again and express no remorse. Sure, it’s unlikely over 13,000 former prisoners will re-offend, but does anybody doubt that a serious number intend to? Shouldn’t “1” constitute a “serious number” of blood-thirsty terrorists? Not all prisoners released founded Hamas’ military, but I doubt there’s even one among them I’d like to have a beer with. Or vice versa.
I’m not alone in thinking there’s trouble ahead. The Popular Resistance Committee (the Hamas dominated coalition that captured Shalit) had a representative vow: “We are going to capture another soldier and cleanse all the Israeli jails.” This is the most obvious thing for them to do, something everybody should expect, except of course Ban Ki-moon. I usually take a terrorist’s words with a grain of salt, but I believe them this time. They have all the incentive in the world to do it again and nothing to lose.
With Israeli citizens overwhelmingly happy about the swap, it’s hard to fault Netanyahu. If they don’t blame him and they have to live next to Hamas, who am I to say? But that’s just it: it seems Netanyahu put political expediency ahead of national security. The response of my friends Facebook status’s has been joy over doubt at Gilad’s return, but unless you think rearming Hamas in exchange for Shalit actually helps the cause of peace, this is bad news. This is the question it boils down to.
I’m obviously happy for Shalit. Five years of living with Hamas must be an unimaginable horror beyond description, far worse than any quarrel I’ve had with my roommate. When I was in Rome in 2009 I walked by a Shul which posted a sign with Gilad’s face. I didn’t understand Italian but the message was clear. It goes without saying Israel wanted his return, and for obvious reasons, but it doesn’t seem prudent, and possibly it’s even a breach of duty, to privilege emotional resolution over national security. Israel today is undoubtedly less secure than it was a week ago.
Israel might be giving Hamas something to crow about after the PA went to supplicate the UN, or perhaps now Hamas will stick to their word and take more innocent hostages, creating a pretext for an Israeli military response. The only thing that won’t come of this is peace. I like Burke’s trade better.