From Hamas, with gratitude

No doubt Hamas are rejoicing at the sight of thousands of Israelis protesting the Schalit affair. Hamas leaders are mocking the citizens of Israel, who, instead of protesting against the world’s inaction or against Hamas itself, choose to blame their government for not releasing hundreds of murderers in exchange for the soldier.

Schalit protests 311 (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
Schalit protests 311
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
Today’s column will no doubt prove very unpopular.
If I were a Hamas leader, I would have been very happy with the five minutes of silence that thousands of Israelis observed last week - including ministers and even President Shimon Peres - all calling for the liberation of Gilad Schalit.
RELATED:PM on Schalit deal: Hamas planning attacks from jail
If I were a Hamas leader, I would have encouraged those good Israelis to keep protesting and pressuring their government to give up to our demands and agree to the liberation of hundreds of bloody murderers in exchange for the Israeli soldier.
If I were a Hamas leader, I’d be delighted with all the insults addressed at the Prime Minister, his Defense Minister, the entire cabinet, the army and whomever else. They say Netanyahu can’t withstand pressure, so please pressure him a little more. It only helps our cause.
If I were a Hamas leader, I would have been astounded to discover that those good Israelis don’t protest against the Hamas, against our cruelty, our inhumanity, our cynical exploitation of the pain of a family; I would have been shocked that they don’t protest against the United Nations’ indifference, against the “super powers’” inaction, against all those sweet and naïve international organizations that aid Hamas while demonizing Israelis.
No, to our utmost satisfaction, they protest against their own government, accusing it of corruption, of dirty politics, of sordid deals made in attempts to preserve the coalition, of abandoning the soldier to his sorry fate. I would rub my hands together in glee.
If I were a Hamas leader, I would have sent a message to the thousands of protesters and writers and public figures who make fiery speeches. I would have encouraged them, “Keep up the good work! Protest against your government! Declare hunger strikes! March on towards Jerusalem! Curse Netanyahu! Insist that national security is not that important! Show the world that you don’t care about the five hundred or so murderers that Israel would have to release in exchange for Schalit. But please, do it fast, do it forcefully, because we are yearning to unleash our wrath against Israel as soon as those prisoners return to Gaza!”I would have done all this and much more if I were a Hamas leader.
But I am not a Hamas leader. I am an Israeli who cares deeply about Gilad Schalit – but who also cares deeply about the security of my people. I don’t want hundreds of Hamas killers freed to wreak havoc against my country and my co-citizens. Only this week we received a harsh reminder from Hamas about what they have in mind for us – bombs and missiles, attacks and death. And I refuse to yield to their demands, whose only goal is to kill more Israelis.
Yes, there was a tremendous mishandling with the case of Gilad Schalit. But it wasn’t in the negotiations. It was in our inability to unearth where Schalit is located and try and rescue him. Even Meir Dagan, former head of the Mossad, admitted at the end of his legendary term that the Schalit affair was a failure on the part of our secret services. How come the best secret services in the world, Mossad, Aman and Shabak, didn’t manage to glean the necessary intelligence regarding Schalit’s location and how he is being guarded? And how come the famous Jewish brain, that concocted so many ingenious operations in the past, couldn’t devise one for his liberation?
Furthermore, how is it that during operation Cast Lead no effort was made to rescue Shalit or to capture several Hamas leaders in order to exchange them for our boy? People excuse this major oversight by saying it would have cost the lives of soldiers. Excuse me? Soldiers are there to fight and defend our country - sometimes at the cost of their lives. Many of us have fought in Israel’s wars, knowingly risking our lives for our country and our people.
We didn’t annul the Six Day War because it risked costing the lives of soldiers. Neither did we dismiss crossing the Suez Canal, raiding Entebbe, or any of the other daring feats in our history. I am convinced that there isn’t a single soldier who wouldn’t have willingly gone to fight in order to save Gilad Schalit. And therefore I am deeply distressed by the sight of an entire nation, strong and proud, that refrains from action and begs the government to accept the enemy’s demands.
I don’t belong to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s Likud party and I don’t agree with many of his actions. But I am certain that in regards to the Schalit affair, the Prime Minister, together with his colleagues and Defense Minister Ehud Barak, are acting with a singular goal in mind: preserving Israel’s security.
So, the next time a mass protest against our government is organized, I beseech my friends and the friends of Shalit’s family to keep in mind the Biblical phrase from the book of Samuel: “Tell it not in Gath, publish it not in the streets of Ashkelon; lest the daughters of the Philistines rejoice…” - or lest Hamas rejoices over their power to bring us to our knees.
The writer is a former Labor Party MK and the official biographer of David Ben-Gurion and Shimon Peres.