Gilad Schalit is a free man today and he became a man in the custody and care of Hamas. Schalit was a nineteen-year old jew from a nation of jews, stolen like a comely goat from his post, as he was a soldier; a jewish soldier from a nation of jewish sodiers. As far as can be divined, the raid that claimed him was conceived and launched, involving months of tunneling by many hands, for the very purpose of capturing a jewish soldier and ransoming prisoners from the jewish jail. Schalit was of no consequence personally. He was just a jew.
For five years Schalit has paid the price for that crime. As yet we have no word from him as to what conditions he was kept. Almost certainly those were far better than exist in Palestinian jails in Gaza and the West Bank, which are filled mostly with “collaborators”, either with jews (and just the allegation of this can get one killed in the street) or the other entity. In Gaza, Hamas jails those with sympathy to Fatah. In the West Bank, Fatah jails those favorable to Hamas but in either case a five year sentence would be grueling and would show a mark or two. Schalit seems to have been kept in marketable condition as befits his status, not as prisoner of war or justice, but as a commodity.
I thought the jews were supposed to be stiff traders? Netanyahu has not wandered into an arab souk ignorantly, he has been drawn there by violence and even more by menace. His position and the true, international position of Israel is the same as it has ever been for the jew; he is despised and surrounded. So he has made a deal; for the whole and breathing Gilad Schilat weighing in at eight stone Bibi releases a few tons of Palestinian cell-stuffing on the hoof. The ratio? One-thousand to one. And the head-to-head ratio is, of course, only part of the equation for Gilad Schilat has never been charged, let alone convicted, of any crime and although they held him for five years Hamas never made even the pretense of doing so. Couldn’t they have had a secret though publicized trial? Certainly they claim that Israel as a nation and the jew as a people are guilty of daily, horrendous crimes. Those claims have not proven too viable however. The “death” of Mohammed al-Dura, the Jenin Massacre as well as many lesser Massacres, the death of American Rachel Cory…. all have been floated as their day’s Original Sin of Zionism. Each has proven to be fraudulent as do the claims of indiscriminate killing always prove to be, on the odd occasion when Israel is driven by bomb attacks to go into the hostile arab marketplace and shoot back at those they can be confident are doing the shooting. And this figures only the military account. Israel feeds Gaza and the West Bank. They water them. They provide electrical power and other commodities. They make direct cash payments to the supposed “governments” of these spits of sand and direct cash payments to many ordinary people there for various reasons. So on all aspects, it is the Palestinian account that is overdrawn but that is unmentionable. The Schalit bargain was a naked one and a poor one; an eye for a thousand eyes, rounded UP. Netenyahu can be derided as many things but rarely a fool and never a coward. Clearly he feels this to have been the best outcome one could hope for, factoring in all the lessons learned and unlearned by all sides. He has earned the trust of his nation and his supporters outside his nation but also are we responsible to look, unblinking, at the facts.
The arabs’ bounty is as culpable as Schalit is innocent. Yes, some of these prisoners have been held, not as criminal defendants or even prisoners of war but rather as national security detainees, much as the Obama Administration holds our enemies overseas and at Guantanamo Bay. Mostly they have been convicted in military tribunals much like we employ ourselves but their guilt is not at issue. They boast of their murders or aid to murderers and pledge to continue. In many cases it is all in the family. On the arab street nothing is more laudable or more salable than martyrdom and we are not talking necessarily about death. The arab prisoner swap contains many, many fellows and ladies who came to die with the jews but somehow failed. Not that they didn’t kill jews and israeli arabs; some did and some didn’t. We have in this group some with fizzled bomb-belts, some who committed gunfire attacks, some who constructed or trafficked in bombs and other weapons. We have knife-attackers from bus raids. We have bomb-mules and designers. Nearly every swapped prisoner was serving a life sentence and many, like those involved in the Sbarro bombing, were serving a dozen or more life sentences; one for each victim. That is some tough sentencing there, isn’t it? But whether the jews order their prisoners incarcerated for life or for sixteen lives is quaintly Quixotic. The arab killers have but one life to give and it is pledged either to allah or the arab people for the secularists. They laugh at the jewish state that pretends to take what only god can give. For the jew it is all the same though because each pledge demands jew murder and each will be satisfied with jew murder. And as we see today, a life sentence is nothing to get too upset about. If one is not, dozens are not either. There is life after a life sentence. Be certain that on the outside your brothers are working to free you; to reward your families in your absence and above all, know that your status, the fame of your name, the fortunes of your sons and daughters only rise with each hour you spend in the belly of the Zionist Entity. Such are the appeals of even botched jihad.
The prisoners return to their hero’s welcome. There is dancing in the streets as there always is after a big victory, as we saw at 911. In Israel Schalit returns quietly to his home. Even the simplest child knows this is not the end. What have the arabs learned? They have learned that taking hostages; the oldest of trade between civilization and its lack, is not only profitable but nearly risk free. Hamas did this deed openly. Yet was Hamas wiped from the streets of Gaza as Israel seems to have the ability to do? That would be a no. Did Israel cut off their explicit aid to precincts under Hamas control? No. Did Israel at least after this bundling-run begin to reply in kind and proportion to the daily attacks launched at her from Hamas-controlled Gaza? No. While Netanyahu negotiated through a deteriorating Egypt trying to get some of the worst nasties off of Hamas’ Chrismas List the Schalit family Occupied Tel Aviv, agitating AT BIBI! Well, occupying Gaza would have been impractical. One can only marvel at the unseriousness on display. Is Netanyahu an exponent or a victim of this meme? Hopefully it is the later and that old biblical cunning allied with the marvels of electronic society (which the jews excel at) are keeping these once and future killers under tight scrutiny. We trust that this deal in which the wily jew seems to have been so outmaneuvered will prove to have hidden codicils and consequences that redound to Israel’s longer-term benefit. Or it could well be that Netanyahu sees that the old order, to the extent it existed, is crumbling no matter what. A starving Egypt is about to overflow her borders and that flow will find the greenest pastures which it will lay waste instantly. The neighboring tyrants, once a pish-pash of the islamist and the secular are quick becoming solely the former and far less reasonable on the matter of jewish babies drawing breath. The Arab Spring has sprung and all the scare stories from the Kissingers are coming true at a brisk pace. Mubarak and Assad and even Khaddaffy were, after all, doing what they said; keeping the lid on a devastating chaos. But cozying with Khaddaffy, even if it were palatable is of no benefit now. The only way this deal with the arab flesh market reveals Bibi to be neither dunce nor coward is if the infusion of a thousand screaming, proven murderers back into the stalls and mosques surrounding Israel is no more than a drop in a slopping bucket that will inevitably (and quickly) tip over. Getting rid of the actual prisoners and gaining the modest, transitory diplomatic benefits make sense only if even worse, even larger events are on the horizon and visibly approaching. Bibi may yet get to wink at the arab traders, showing them that finally, yes, they did get the worst of the deal. But that can only happen from the middle of one hell of a mess.