October 19: Gilad Schalit

Gilad Schalit: The bitter with the sweet

letters (photo credit: JP)
(photo credit: JP)
Sir, – The five-year mismanagement of the Schalit crisis left us no choice but to close an unpalatable deal. Yet the circus surrounding the release was completely unnecessary and unacceptable.
Why do we choose to humiliate ourselves? Why magnify our failures and demoralize the nation? The deal should have been clinical and performed behind closed doors. There is cause not for celebration but for introspection.
I wish a stable future for Gilad Schalit – and fear the outcome of having hundreds of convicted murderers in our midst.
Bnei Re’em
Sir, – Congratulations from all the Australian supporters of Israel on the liberation of Gilad Schalit.
We send our best regards and warm wishes to him and his family for a happy future.
We also feel close to the parents and families of so many innocent civilians who have been killed by terrorists.
Sir, – Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has obviously lost his backbone. He should resign and give his mandate to someone who can withstand the heat. Who knows which red line he will cross next?
Shadmot Mehola
Sir, – Next time there is a terrorist attack that kills innocent civilians and we find and arrest the perpetrators, we must not take them to trial and sentence them to life imprisonment. They only benefit from all the family visits, inspections by the Red Cross and enrollment in academic studies, and take it easy and wait until the next prisoner exchange.
No. They must be spirited away to a secret place. No family visits. No inspections by the Red Cross for weeks, months and even years. Some of them may last, like Gilad Schalit. Others would be returned as bones in coffins, like Regev and Goldwasser, or mysteriously disappear forever, like Arad, Katz, Baumel and others.
Will there be an outcry from the world? Of course! But all we have to do is explain that we took the idea from our Arab neighbors, who have been doing this to us for years.
Either that or bring out the death penalty for terrorists with blood on their hands, like we did for Eichmann. Problem solved.
Kfar Shmaryahu
Sir, – One could discuss the relevant merits of the swap, but it is a done deal. However, the government must now give serious consideration to the death penalty for terrorism.
We need to see a policy that might seem callous, but is absolutely necessary for Israel’s security. We cannot guarantee we’ll swap an infinite number of fanatic killers for our soldiers.
I strongly suspect that within a very short time we will have further incidents brought about by the very people who have been released. To rephrase an axiom: “Terrorized once, shame on you. Terrorized twice, shame on me.”
Sir, – If Louis René Beres’ interpretation is correct (“Schalit deal makes mockery of int’l law,” Comment & Features, October 18), Israel must immediately pass a law saying that convicted terrorists be put to death.
To be sure, Israel detests capital punishment, but international law seems to make it necessary.
Such a law might have a deterrent effect on potential terrorists and prevent pardons and repatriation for jailed terrorists in prisoner exchanges or goodwill gestures.
After executing the first terrorist, Israelis will make peace with the law.
Sir, – The Gilad Schalit deal has underscored one of our greatest weaknesses: our overly liberal ethos that invites hostage-taking to retrieve dangerous criminals and negates our entire judicial system whereby politicians can overrule the law of the land.
I see only one way to eliminate this weakness – by introducing capital punishment for terrorists. All the countries surrounding us have it. Most US states have it. Many South American countries have it. So do most Asian countries. It’s time we did the same.
Sure, the Europeans will bleat.
So will all the academics lodged in their ivory towers. But we must resist these sentiments.
We are surrounded by enemies sworn to destroy us.
We can no longer afford to place liberalism before our national interests.
Sir, – According to its accusers, Israel is a ruthless victimizer of innocents who respond violently out of desperation. Actually, though, terrorists take advantage of the fact that Israel is restrained by moral scruples.
Would they keep launching rockets from the Gaza Strip if Israel responded by devastating entire neighborhoods, as it easily could? Would youngsters be throwing rocks if they knew the response would be like that seen in Syria? Would hostages be taken if Israel went after the bad guys in Gaza with abandon? Of course not, and they know it.
Israel’s foes may lack scruples, but they are not fools. Sometimes, though, I wonder about Israel.
Jericho, Vermont
Sir, – Since the vast majority of us, myself included, have or have had sons in the army, it is with a heavy heart that I write this.
In my opinion, nothing can justify the release of many prisoners with blood on their hands and many others who would have blood on their hands had they but succeeded in their murderous missions.
Hamas would not budge for less. Why should we? Caroline Glick (“A pact signed in Jewish blood,” Column One, October 14) is absolutely right. But like Cassandra, who was also right, she is not listened to by those who should be following her advice.

Sir, – I found Caroline B.
Glick’s argument against the swap compelling and chilling, whereas Hirsh Goodman’s “It’s not about price” (Post- Script, October 14) was weak and unconvincing.
To say that Israel “can well manage the potential threat from people we know intimately” is bravado. To say that terrorists “have been banished to lands far from here” is disingenuous.
As for the “example” Moshe Ya’alon is sending to our young soldiers, I would ask what kind of message we are sending them when they must be more aware than ever that they are ripe for the plucking?
Ginot Shomron
Sir, – Hirsh Goodman repeats the oft-used justification for returning hundreds of killers for one captive soldier: It is the message that no one is left behind.
But what about the inescapable message to our soldiers who risk their lives to capture these killers? The message is: Don’t waste your effort! They’ll be freed sooner or later anyway, so why put yourself in danger? That message, too, was conveyed to our soldiers in this unwise, unfair and unjustified deal to return Gilad Schalit.
Sir, – The media coverage of the Chilean miners’ plight was enormous, as only a humanitarian situation could be, and the relief over their rescue was celebrated everywhere.
However many of them remain traumatized, and the insatiable media continue to want insight into their lives, as though in a reality show. Many just cannot cope – and their time frame of captivity cannot be compared to that of Gilad Schalit.
I sincerely hope that the soldier’s privacy is respected for a very long time, and wish him and his family many blessings and peace.
Kfar Saba