Voting for release

Posted: March 3, 2009 by Jonathan Boyko in Gilad Shalit, Hamas, Israel, Own Articles, Politics
Cpl. Gilad Shalit

Cpl. Gilad Shalit

Latest opinion article on Ynet is written by Roi Lachmanovitch, now media advisor to Minister Eli Yishai from SHAS. Lachmanovitch was injured during the attack by Palestinian terrorists on Netanya’s Park hotel, on Passover 2002. Lachmanovitch’s opinion is particularly interesting due to the fact Israeli politicians consider the possibility of releasing the terrorists involved in that attack in a swap deal for IDF prisoner Gilad Shalit.

Lachmanovitch strongly believes the terrorists are a “raw material” in negotiations for Shalit’s release. The author believes securing Shalit’s release is of outmost importance – and the terrorists should be released for that purpose.

I have previously elaborated on the subject. In several past deals, Israel received several caskets in exchange for hundreds hostile prisoners – dead and alive. Israel’s history reflects the problem with releasing hundreds of terrorists: a) some of the released terrorists get back into “action”, some of them become suicide bombers after being released from Israeli prisons; b) releasing prisoners from Israeli jails in exchange promotes the tactics of kidnapping, thus causing Hamas and Hizb Allah to kidnap more soldiers and/or civilians.

Lachmanovitch believes Israeli soldiers going into battle must know Israeli government will secure their release in case of capture by hostile organizations: “It is our duty to keep conveying the message to army recruits that we will do everything in our power in order to ensure their safe return”.

It is worth reminding the reader that the mentality of releasing hostiles from prisons in exchange for our own kidnapped civilians or soldiers is relatively new in Israeli lexicon. Two decades ago few would consider actually releasing prisoners – instead, the negotiations would be used to gain time and allow IDF Special Forces to prepare for an operation to secure the hostage, as in case of Cpl. Nahshon Waxman which – unfortunately – did not succeed. However, the operation reflected Israel’s stance on negotiations with terrorists – they will be shot by rescuing forces.

If there is a one thing I have learned from my service in the Combat Engineering Corps of the Israeli Defense Forces it is that the soldiers, in case of capture, would want their comrades to go in and fight for them. If a comrade of ours would be captured by Fatah or Hamas, we’d want to go into Ramallah, Gaza, Jenin or any other place and do our best to neutralize the terrorists and secure our friend. We wouldn’t want the government to release terrorists whom we have arrested previously, while risking our lives.

I won’t lie – I can’t understand Lachmanovitch’s pain, the suffering he endured after the attack. However, I do not have to have the exact feeling to understand the situation. Moreover, I believe I can view the situation better, looking from aside, being a third party. If Israeli government lets those terrorists go, they will bring a distinct future on other soldiers – one where terrorists hunt them down more than ever, especially now, when many analysts believe that success of Israel-Hamas deal would not only boost Hamas’ power in Gaza, but would also bring them much power within West Bank, as some of the prisoners Hamas demands released reside within Mahmoud Abbas-controlled territory.

The Talmud allows the Jew to pay the kidnapper an exact amount of prisoner’s worth – no more, as that would cause the kidnapper to kidnap again for profit. Too bad our politicians never have read that book.


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