I usually refrain from politics, but this is huge.
Gilad Shalit, an Israeli soldier (basically a technician) was kidnapped 5 years ago by Hammas. He was not allowed Red Cross access, not allowed Geneva sanctioned privileges, and only one sign of life of him was ever released internationally (which also was only given as part of a deal in which 200 terrorists were set free).
It has been an issue in Israeli politics forever: Striking a deal with Hamas is no easy thing. For one body - dead or alive - they want 1000 LIVING convicted terrorists. Including some heavy names, terrorist masterminds, if you will. The issue was always “How much is too much” - or in many cases - “Is it EVER too much”.
The US has a strict policy of not negotiating with terrorists, but Israel takes it’s kidnapped soldiers very seriously. So seriously that they’re on every bumper sticker, every status message, every news broadcast. The pressure on the government is immense, yet the price is too high - 1000 terrorists, including a huge terrorist leader, for one soldier - seems too much for many people.
Yet for Gilad Shalit’s family, his friends, and hundreds of thousands of supporters, no price is too high for the safe return of one of our sons from captivity. Israel is many things, but one of the better things we are is united. Our soldiers are our sons and daughters, each and every one of them is like family to each and every one of us.
Today it has been announced that Gilad is coming home. After 5 years in captivity, a deal is struck - and many are claiming that it’s a timely spin. That Bibi Netanyahu is striking this deal now to make people forget how he miserably failed as prime minister to the point where Israel had active riots for two months (“Occupy Wallstreet” is a re-run of what happened in Israel the entire summer). And yes, some people are still saying that the price is too high.
Personally, I’m not sure where I stand. Until an hour ago, I would have said that the American approach is best. You don’t negotiate with terrorists, that’s only encouraging them to repeat kidnapping attempts in the future, because they see it’s leverage that works. It’s sad, but soldiers sometimes get taken in captivity, it’s a part of war (even though here service is mandatory so you can’t really say they had a choice).
I also would have said that the price is too high - 1000 living terrorists including leaders for one Schrodinger’s soldier (we won’t know if he’s dead or alive until we see him or his casket. The last deal we struck with Hezbollah, they said they were alive and after we gave them hundreds of terrorists we got back two coffins).
But now - an hour later - now that it’s actually HAPPENING, I can’t say I’m not excited. I can’t say I’m not happy. Gilad Shalit, the proverbial son, is coming home. Not much can be done to stop this now, so for better or worse - our son is coming home after 5 years in captivity.
This doesn’t change - in my eyes - Bibi’s failures. It doesn’t change the huge risk we’re taking, and it doesn’t change the status-quo. Now that he’s coming back - that it’s actually happening and no longer a hypothetical… I’m just glad for him and his family. All the rest is politics, and politics is bullshit.