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"I wish my country cared so much about me"

On October 24, 2011, I wrote a blog post titled “Gilad Shalit and the Israel Prisoner Repatriation: WHY?” that pondered the question why Israel might be willing to risk negotiating with terrorists in order to achieve some unknown gains.

Specifically, I asked:

Perhaps this was a method for allowing the newly-formed government in Egypt to demonstrate its newfound power with Israel and shore up its transitional government?

Perhaps, it was a method for simultaneously showing Israel’s displeasure with Turkey?

Perhaps this is a way to split Hezbollah (Shia) and Hamas (Sunni) when it comes to their common goal of destroying Israel?

Perhaps this was a method for bringing Hamas to the bargaining table as a direct party by allowing Hamas to claim what appears to be a major negotiation victory?

Perhaps this may have countered Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas' move to attempt to obtain back-door recognition of the Palestinian Authority and Fatah at the United Nations; a move which appeared to weaken Hamas in the Palestinian’s eyes? Especially since partially lifting the blockade of Hamas territory in Gaza may provide a better quality of life – similar to that enjoyed by the Fatah-controlled West Bank.

But more importantly, perhaps this removed Hamas as an agent of Iran, setting the stage for some form of direct Israeli action in the near future; with the expectation that Egypt and Hamas would not engage Israel in defense of Iran?

So I am not surprised when I see the following media items …

As reported in the Washington Times …

“Hamas leader praises Israel’s ‘strength’ in prisoner swap: High price paid for single soldier”

“A senior Hamas official praised the ‘strength’ Israel showed in a prisoner exchange that swapped more than 1,000 Palestinian convicts for one captured Israeli soldier.”

’To do what Israel did shows the value Israeli society places on human life,’ Salah al-Arouri, a member of the Islamist militant group’s politburo, said this week on Israel Radio from Damascus, Syria.”

“’This is a pillar of Israel’s strength — to wage a war to free one man, to free a thousand prisoners for him,’ he said, referring to the Jewish state’s efforts to free Staff Sgt. Gilad Schalit from his Hamas captors. ‘This is the strength of a society and an army.’”

“The Hamas leader’s praise for the cohesiveness of Israeli society echoes sentiments heard elsewhere in the Arab world since Sgt. Schalit’s release:

• Israel Channel Two television quoted columnist K. al-Ahmed, writing in the al-Qabas newspaper in Kuwait, as saying: ‘I wish I were Gilad Schalit; I wish my country cared so much about me.’”

• Syrian blogger Soori Madsoos posted online: ‘I just envy [the Israeli] government because it cares for its citizens. Our government kills us like animals and our Arab neighbors say it’s just an internal matter.’”

“Mr. al-Arouri’s surprising interview marked the first time a Hamas official had agreed to talk with Israeli media. Hamas is dedicated to Israel’s destruction.”

As reported in Haaretz …

“An Egyptian-brokered truce appeared to be taking hold on Sunday after a weekend of escalating violence between Israel and militants in Gaza left nine Palestinian gunmen and an Israeli civilian dead.”

“Three rockets were fired at Israel after the 6 A.M. starting time for the truce, the Israeli military said. Two were intercepted by Israel's Iron Dome missile shield and another struck the south, causing no casualties or damage.”

“But the area fell quiet shortly after those attacks and by the afternoon no new violence was reported.”

“Islamic Jihad and two smaller factions claimed responsibility for rocket launchings over the past five days. Islamic Jihad has close ties with Iran and has chafed at the rule of rival Hamas Islamists in the Gaza Strip.” <Source>

The big question …

The Arabs have always been two-faced when it comes to their media strategy, saying one thing to the English-speaking world and quite another thing when speaking to their own media in their own language. We will have to wait to see how the foreign press and Arab media spins the story.

Bottom line …

The release of 1,000 prisoners for one man is certainly an epic tale that has compelling value in not only explaining that a country values human life, but also provides a stark and stunning contrast to those nations that have no similar regard and treat their people like expendable chattel.

Perhaps that this is the beginning of a new era. One that sees Israel having legitimate authority in human rights and the right to self-defense to protect life.

And if it brings Hamas to the bargaining table and serves to weaken Iran’s hold on the region, the deal may be worth tolerating any naysayers who are convinced that Israel has made a grave error in judgment.

-- steve

Reference Links:

Hamas leader praises Israel's 'strength' in prisoner swap - Washington Times


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