By Jim Fletcher
In a world crippled by extreme cruelty, this week’s news that Gilad Shalit is coming home is an oasis. It is joy.
Shalit, the IDF soldier kidnapped five years ago by Palestinian terrorists, has been held in Gaza. A few days ago, the Israeli government reached a deal with Hamas for the return of Shalit - in exchange for the release of 1,000 terrorists from Israeli jails.
First, we wish the Shalit family much joy and long life together. This gift is rare, and we must pray for them as they receive their son.
Charles Jacobs, a great spokesman for Jewish causes, had some great remarks about the Shalit release (www.peaceandtolerance.org):
“Gilad Shalit: Israel faced a ‘Sophie's Choice.’ This is an extraordinarily difficult and painful episode: Everyone knows that giving in to terrorism likely fuels more assaults. And everyone knows that there is an increased probability that other Israelis - and their parents, who are unknown and faceless to us now, will pay for this. But these other Israelis are abstractions today: they exist only in the future. And as no one can see them and love them today, their interests are less spoken for. They only exist in our brains. For that reason, our hearts are unconstrained, and our hearts are with Gilad Shalit, and his parents. It's like a ‘Sophie's Choice,’ but with only one child in view and at hand. Israel chooses that one.”In years past, negotiating with terrorists was not something Israel considered. I would argue, for those purists who would decry the Israelis doing it now…the situation has changed. There are so many threats coming at Israel, from so many directions, that I can see why the Netanyahu government went ahead and decided to bring Shalit home.
There were several ironies.
A German mediator worked with the provisional Egyptian government in brokering the deal.
According to the report from the Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center:
“The Israeli concern was that not exploiting the opportunity might endanger Gilad Shalit's welfare and future.”In other words, perhaps the last window to bring Shalit home was closing. Israel understands very well that the Palestinian barbarians that do this sort of thing know what happened to airman Ron Arad, now missing almost 30 years. Thank God they are bringing Shalit home alive.
Among the 1,027 terrorists to be released are 27 women, including Ahlam Tamimi, who drove the homicide bomber to the Sbarro restaurant in Jerusalem in 2001.
I like the fact that the signer to this agreement for Hamas was Nizar Awadallah (Ahmed Jaabari, head of Hamas’ terrorist wing in Gaza, was present but did not sign). The fact that these two terrorists were there, and one signed the agreement is almost comical, since Hamas denies Israel’s existence. Who were they signing an agreement with, the Swiss?
Now, I would like to switch gears a bit for a minute, and quote Jacobs again, regarding the terrorism being waged against Coptic Christians in Egypt:
“No one likes analogies with the unique events of the Holocaust, but surely last Sunday was like a Kristallnacht for the Copts: a sudden murderous assault on their religious community, with the participation of especially brutal Egyptian soldiers. Some Muslims tried to stand with the Christians, but reports from the bloody scene describe how army officers could not stop low ranking soldiers, who may be more truly expressive of the ‘Arab/Muslim street,’ from beating and killing Christians. Everything has changed for the 8 -10 million Christian minority, whose churches will likely continue to be set aflame. The Copts preceded Islam in Egypt, but now may well face the choice of having to flee their ancestral homes or be reduced to vassals.I see linkage between these stories, Shalit and the Copts. Jacobs asks the most pertinent question: Where is the outrage from Western liberals, including Brian McLaren, Jim Wallis, Tony Campolo, and even Rick Warren?
“And of course the ‘human rights community’ stays mostly quiet. And where are the West's church leaders?”
There is no outrage, because the left is selective when pledging moral support for victims. “Oppressed” Christians are only found in the West Bank - Palestinians. Coptic Christians are on their own. Gilad Shilat? He was on his own when it came to appeals from the Christian left in America.
That’s one of the reasons Israel was forced to negotiate with terrorists. The world chose a long time ago to try and pacify the Palestinians.
The result is a terrorist community that is emboldened.
PM sends letters to bereaved families of terror victims - Jerusalem Post
Last-Ditch Petition: Leave Sbarro Attacker in Jail - Arutz Sheva
Hillary Clinton Promises to Save Egypt’s Christians? - FrontPage Magazine
Poll: 79% in favor of Shalit deal - YNet News
The step-by-step guide to Gilad's return home - Ha'aretz