Tuesday, March 17, 2009

"I wouldn't want them to listen to me..."

The soul-destroying saga of the Shalit family drags horribly on. Yet, literally right next to the protest tent they've put up in Jerusalem, is another one, with the opposite message.
Hagit Rayan, the mother of Maj. Benia Rayan, killed in the 2006 Second Lebanon War, arrived at the Shalit tent Monday to support the family, but upon leaving said she firmly opposed the prisoner exchange.

"If it happened to me I'd do the same thing as the Shalit family, but I wouldn't want the government to listen to me. A government shouldn't operate based on the weeping of mothers"


Joe in Australia said...

It's a horrible situation, but I think she's right. Exchanging terrorists for kidnapped soldiers degrades Israel's justice system and army, and places Israeli lives in jeopardy.

adam d. said...

When did Israel become Sparta? Must a boy come home on his shield or not at all?

Here's a slightly less rhetorical question. If Israel locks up half the Palestinian population, is the remaining half any less violent? Is there really any difference at all in the risk level if these prisoners are freed or not?

Dimitry said...

adam, Israel had consitently freed large numbers of prisoners in such swaps. There need, however, be some kind of red lines, otherwise the extortion just intensifies.
Studies show that about 75% of those released in previous deals, return to terrorist activities. So, yeah, freeing planners and executors of mass murders makes a difference if they come back to it.

Anonymous said...

Leaving the suffering of the Shalit family aside for a moment I think:
to get Shalit back would once again confirm Israel's status as the stubborn ones, the ones not to be subdued - freeing the prisoners for Shalit may be a very inefficient and even costly way of asserting oneself but - considering human nature - I think when all is said and done the emotional way would beat the rational one in this case. After all Israelis are accused of loving life, a wonderful reputation and it is worth upholding it even if the round-about way of keeping the prisoners would save more lives.
Symbols matter and poor suffering Shalit has for better or for worse become a symbol ...
rgds, Silke

Splashman said...

I feel terribly for the Shalit family, but exchanging many terrorists (or even one terrorist) for one soldier is an irrational, self-defeating policy. By comparison, a rational (if unrealistic) policy would be to announce that one Palestinian terrorist will be executed every day until Shalit is released.

That mother had it exactly right: "A government shouldn't operate based on the weeping of mothers."

adam d. said...

The reality seems to be a horse trade. One weeping mother is worth 300 bloodthirsty terrorists, but not 400. 400, but not to include certain especially nasty individuals. and so on. The current talk of red lines seems a bit insincere.

But I'll bet every one of you talking a hard line in this discussion would make this trade at some price, though the price you're willing to pay may be lower. One weeping mother is worth something.