Schalit march 311 AP.
(photo credit: Associated Press)
A simple letter – that was the modest request of Noam Schalit, father of captured
IDF soldier Gilad Schalit. He asked the “peace activists,” those who organized
the recent Gaza flotilla, to help deliver a letter to someone whose basic human
rights are being denied; to take with them a note from a father who misses his
son, a son he has not seen in four years, and to demand that Hamas deliver the
letter. The answer was no. We are a humanitarian flotilla, they responded, and
our mission is to deliver humanitarian aid to the people of Gaza. Delivering a
letter for a soldier held in captivity for nearly half a decade and whose basic
human rights are violated was simply not on the agenda Gilad Schalit has been
held in the Gaza Strip since June 25, 2006. He was taken from Israeli territory
a year after the disengagement from Gaza adopted by the Sharon government, in
which I had the honor to serve. Schalit did not fall into captivity during a
military operation, he was captured by terrorists from his country’s own
But it seems the generosity of these “peace activists” from all
over the world who set out on Gaza-bound ships, some more violent than others,
does not extend to an IDF soldier who will soon mark his 24th birthday in Hamas
They didn’t even have the decency to demand from their
“friends” in Gaza that Schalit be seen by the Red Cross, a basic right
to any prisoner of war, which is what Hamas claims him to be.
to assume that, unlike the residents of Gaza, Gilad Schalit cannot count
global “rights” movement to stand by his side. He needs us, citizens and
of this country, and more than anything, he needs Prime Minister
They say that being Israeli prime minister is one of the
hardest jobs in the world. Anyone holding the title must make
decisions, time and again, decisions of life and death in a society that
sanctifies life, WHEN I brought up the issue of Gilad Schalit during one
conversations with former secretary of state Condoleeza Rice, she
that America has no small number of captured soldiers in Iraq.
I told her
that this was the ethos of Israeli society: In our small country, a
is everyone’s soldier-son and a captive is everyone’s captive. An IDF
knows that his country and its leaders will do everything in their power
his release. I am proud to be part of a people that views a soldier as
its family and refuses to accept his continued captivity at the hands of
This is the reality in which the prime minister must operate and
which forces him to make an impossibly difficult decision to release
Schalit, knowing the price.
I understand the implications. I am aware of
the significance. In the time that I served as interim president of the
saw the terrifying list of terrorists that Israel is being asked to
I thought to myself that the burden on the prime minister forced to make
decision is indeed very heavy.
Our high morality has brought us to such a
low negotiating position.
Hamas could have seen its terrorists freed four
years ago, but it’s in no rush. We, however, want to see Gilad home now.
for the soldier is part of that Israeli ethos, the mutual guarantee that
us a strong, but trapped, nation. The worry is also a product of the
in our hearts following the failure to free another captive, Ron Arad,
face is carved into memory.
Mutual guarantees have a price, a price that
the prime minister must pay.
In the absence of “peace activists” and
human rights activists aboard peace flotillas, Gilad Schalit now needs
people to come through for him .The writer is chairwoman of the Kadima