Tag Archives: Schalit

War Over Prisoners Hampers Peace In Middle East

Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal accused Israel of hampering the peace process by refusing to free Palestinian prisoners in return release of the captured IDF soldier, Gilad Schalit. “The conditions for an agreement have been known for three years, and the Egyptians know them, too. They are the release of 1,000 Palestinians in two stages.” He charged that Israel Prime Minister Ehud Olmert does not want to release all the 1,000 and is creating barriers to a resolution of the problem. Mashaal went on to complain about continued construction of housing in the West Bank and in Jerusalem. He also made clear that Hamas was not going to allow the appointment of hard liner Benjamin Netanyahu to frighten them into an agreement.

A basic concept in foreign policy is focusing on national interests, not emotional factors. The life of Gilad Schalit is important, but so are the lives of Palestinians. To argue the life of a single Israeli soldier is worth continued war, the death of hundreds, raises issues that transcend foreign policy and enter the realm of emotions. Gilad Schalit will secure his release and his life if Israel focuses on issues, not emotions. There is need to accept the challenge posed by the Arab League and enter the road of a comprehensive peace. At that point, Mr. Schalit will be released.

Israel has created an emotional issue which interferes with the process of peace.

Israel Throws Road Block Into Truce Decision

A single human life is precious and no one should simply discard making decisions that effect the life and dignity of the individual person. Prime Ministe Ehud Olmert told truce negotiators there would not be a truce unless Gilad Schalit, the kidnapped Israeli soldier, is freed from captivity. An Egyptian source commented: “Everything was settled. A deal was close to being announced.” The release of Schalit will now complicate the possibility of securing a truce agreement that would end fighting and death. The Olmert comment caught Egyptian negotiators by surprise and made it difficult for them to achieve the present need of a truce and end to fighting.

The Egyptians are caught in the middle. They seek to enhance the power of the Palestinian Authority while at the same time persuading Hamas to accept peace and a truce. On one hand, the Egyptians want to become the savior of Gazans who are faced with ongoing difficulty in surviving, but on the other hand, they don’t want to enhance the power of Hamas.

Olmert is right to secure the release of Gilad Schalit because of his concern for human life. But, his armed force just recently conducted military operations which resulted in the death of over 600 innocent Palestinians. During the operations, the Israel Defense Force placed the lives of their own soldiers over the lives of Palestinians. There is something strange about the Olmert stance on being concerned with saving the life of a single person.

Israel And Hamas Hesitate On Cease Fire

The impasse between Hamas and Israel continues with each side digging in its heels in order to prove to their supporters and the world that common sense is not part of their makeup when opportunities are presented to make political points. Israel Prime Minister Ehud Olmert told George Mitchell that his nation is opening Gaza crossings to allow in humanitarian supplies but if such openings are to continue then Hamas would have to free Sgt. Gilad Schalit who was kidnapped months ago near Gaza. Hamas officials told Mitchell if Israel wanted Schalit to be freed there would be a price. “If they want to release Schalit, they have to pay a price in return… the 11,000 Palestinian prisoners in Israel jails waiting to be released.”

The life of any human is precious, but in the real world, doctors make choices about life and death because circumstances indicate a baby’s life depends on a mother’s death. In war, doctors constantly make choices which wounded soldier gets their attention and which will probably die. Israel is claiming a single life is more important than peace after just completing an operation in which over 500 innocent civilians died in the name of saving the lives of Israel soldiers. If a single life is more important than the lives of others, why did Israel soldiers argue they had to fire into areas where Hamas fired from even though civilians were in the area because the civilians had to die to ensure the lives of Israel soldiers? There is something wrong with the Israel equation. Peace is now the most important thing. Once peace arrives, Sgt. Schalit will be freed.