To the roaring cheers of the local media, on Sunday the Schalit family embarked
on a cross-country march to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s residence. They
set out two days after the fourth anniversary of IDF Sgt. Gilad Schalit’s
Outside their home on Sunday, Gilad’s father Noam Schalit
pledged not to return home without his son. The Schalit family intends to camp
out outside of Netanyahu’s home until the government reunites them with
For weeks the local media – and especially Ma’ariv
– have portrayed the Schalit family’s trek to Netanyahu
reenactment of Moses’ journey to Pharaoh.
Like Pharaoh, the media
insinuates that Netanyahu is evil because he refuses to free Gilad from
The only drawback to this dramatic, newspaper- selling story is
that it is wrong. Gilad Schalit is not a hostage in Jerusalem. He is a
in Gaza. His captor is not Netanyahu. His captor is Hamas.
the story is wrong, the media organized cavalcade of ten thousand
Israelis is moving in the wrong direction. And not only is it going in
direction, it is doing so at Gilad Schalit’s expense.
The truth that
s marketing departments
ignore is that Schalit’s continued
captivity is a function of Hamas’s growing strength. To bring him home,
shouldn’t release a thousand terrorists from prison.
To bring Gilad
Schalit home a free man, Israel must weaken Hamas. And this is an
achievable goal. Noam Schalit knows it is an achievable goal. That is
week he was the most outspoken critic of Netanyahu’s decision to abandon
Israel’s economic sanctions against Hamas-controlled Gaza. That is why
past four years, the Schalit family has staged countless protests
Israel’s massive and continuous assistance to Hamas-controlled Gaza. If
positive is to come from this march, then when the Schalit family
Jerusalem they should abandon the newspapers’ demand that Israel
all of Hamas’s demands. They should acknowledge that doing so will only
guarantee that more Israelis will be kidnapped and murdered by Hamas and
If the Schalits wish to criticize the government, they should
criticize Netanyahu and his coalition for the steps they have taken to
strengthen Hamas. The Schalits should demand that the government
tighten Israel’s economic sanctions against Gaza. They should demand
end its supply of electricity and gasoline to Gaza and take more
action to block smuggling through the tunnels along the Gaza-Egypt
All of these actions will weaken Hamas, and so contribute to the
prospect of it being forced by the Gazans themselves to release Schalit
ONE OF the important truths ignored by Israel’s pathological
media is that Hamas and its Iranian sponsor are not all powerful. They
vulnerable to criticism from their own publics. And Israel is capable of
fomenting such criticism.
For example, the imprisoned terrorists whose
release Hamas demands in exchange for releasing Schalit have
responded rationally to Israeli threats. The Knesset is slowly debating a
that would worsen prison conditions of terrorists. And the terrorists
Their worry provoked them to demand that Hamas be more
forthcoming with Schalit.
By the same token, were Israel to cut off
electricity to Gaza – an act that is not merely lawful, but arguably
international law – we could expect residents of Gaza to express a
rational demand to Hamas. That is, were Israel to weaken public support
Hamas, Hamas would be more likely to bow to Israel’s will.
And if Hamas
is vulnerable to public criticism, the Iranian regime is downright
public criticism. Take the regime’s behavior in the wake of the
In the days that followed Israel’s bungled May 31
takeover of the Mavi Marmara
Iran announced it was sending two of its own ships
to Gaza. Israel responded rationally and forthrightly. The government
that any Iranian ship would be viewed as an enemy ship and Israel would
in accordance with the rules of war.
As Iran expert Michael Ledeen has
argued repeatedly, the Iranian regime is terrified of getting the
angry over its radical foreign policy. In light of its precarious
its own public, Israel’s forthright threat of war brought the regime to
Last Thursday, Hossein Sheikholdslam, the Iranian regime
functionary responsible for the Gaza-bound ships, told the Iranian news
IRNA that plans to send the ships were scrapped because Israel “sent a
the United Nations saying that the presence of Iranian and Lebanese
ships in the
Gaza area will be considered a declaration of war on [Israel] and it
During the war with Iran’s Hizbullah proxy in 2006,
thousands of Iranians demonstrated against Hizbullah. They demanded that
regime invest its money in the local economy and not in Hizbullah and
Were Israel to present Schalit as an Israeli victim of the
Iranian regime, it could provoke a similar popular outcry against Iran’s
for Hamas. The media-manipulated Schalits are not the only ones acting
against their own interests. The government is acting with similar
its relations with the Obama administration. Indeed, Netanyahu ended
lawful economic sanctions against Hamas-controlled Gaza (sanctions that
among other things as a bargaining chip for freeing Schalit), because
administration placed overwhelming pressure on him to do so.
to let the Mavi Marmara
go to waste, US President Barack Obama had used
it as a means to weaken Israel against Hamas. Obama announced that he
Hamas-controlled Gaza $400 million in US aid. He forced Netanyahu to end
Israel’s economic sanctions against the illegal Hamas regime.
according to remarks by a senior Hamas terrorist to the London-based Al-
al-Arabi newspaper on Friday, the Obama administration maintains direct
the Hamas leadership in Syria.
WHEN NETANYAHU entered office last spring
his desire to appease Obama was understandable. At the time, he was
under the hope that perhaps Obama could be appeased into ending his
against the Jewish state. But the events of the past year have made
Obama is unappeasable. Every concession Israel has made to Obama has
whetted the US president’s appetite for more.
The policy implications of
this state of affairs are clear. First, Israel must strive to weaken
Since Israeli concessions to Obama strengthen him, Israel must first and
foremost stop giving him concessions.
Weakening Obama does not involve
openly attacking him. It means Israel should act in a way that advances
interests and forces Obama to reconsider the desirability of his current
Regionally, Israel should make common cause with the Kurds of
Iran, Iraq and Syria who are now being assaulted by Iran, Turkey and
Doing so is not simply the moral thing to do. It weakens Iran, Syria and
and demonstrates that Obama’s appeasement policies are harming those who
freedom and empowering those who hate it.
By the same token, Israel
should do everything it can to strengthen the Iranian Green movement.
anti-regime action in Iran – regardless of its size – harms the regime
therefore helps Israel. And every anti-regime action in Iran exposes the
depravity and strategic idiocy of Obama’s policy of appeasing the
AS FOR the US domestic political realm, in Ambassador Michael
Oren’s all but schizophrenic recent statements about the Obama
policy towards Israel, we may at last be witnessing an embrace of
sanity on the part of the government.
For the past several months, Oren
has acted as the Obama administration’s most energetic cheerleader to
He has repeatedly and wrongly reassured US Jewish
audiences that Obama is a great friend of Israel, that his Democratic
remains loyal to the US-Israel alliance and that the Republicans are
claim that there is a difference between the two major US political
it comes to supporting Israel.
The pinnacle of Oren’s pro-Obama campaign
came with his interview last week with The
. There he brought all
of these false and counter-productive claims into the public realm.
Oren’s decision to make his adulation of the Obama administration public
forced his bosses in Jerusalem to order him to cease, desist and do an
And so, last week, Oren told a closed audience of Israeli diplomats
the truth. Under Obama, Oren whispered, there has been a “tectonic rift”
relations with Israel. While some of Obama’s advisers are sympathetic to
these advisers have no influence on Obama’s positions on Israel.
recognizing how silly his about face made him look, Oren tried to deny
statements at the Foreign Ministry. But it is hard to imagine anyone
During his visit to the White House next week, Netanyahu
should follow the path set by Oren’s quickly leaked remarks. Netanyahu
abstain from praising Obama for his friendship and speak instead about
that the US-Israel alliance is vital for both countries’ national
Netanyahu should insist on the right to call on questioners at
his joint appearance with Obama. And he should use those questions and
appearances to discuss why Israel’s actions are not only legal and
Israel, but vital for US national security. During his stay in the US,
should discuss the global jihad, Islamic terrorism, the freedom-loving
the freedom-loving Iranian people every chance he gets.
Indeed, he should
create opportunities to discuss them.
Here we see a crucial point of
convergence between the Schalit family march to Jerusalem and
to Washington. To increase the effectiveness of their efforts on behalf
Gilad, ahead of Netanyahu’s visit to Washington, the marchers should
The first group should continue to Jerusalem and demand that
Israel take a firmer stand against Hamas. The second group should walk
Aviv and camp out outside the US Embassy. There they should demand that
administration end its contacts with Hamas, end its pressure on the
government to strengthen Hamas, cancel Obama’s plan to give an
million dollars in aid to Hamas and use the US’s position on the UN
Council to condemn Turkey for its material support for Hamas.
long, by allowing themselves to be led by our deranged media, Israeli
and governments alike have ignored the basic fact that the answer to
question is not more Israeli concessions. Contrary to what our tabloids
have us believe, surrender is only one option among many. It is time we