Freedom For One For Liberty For Hundreds?

The ongoing drama of Gilad Shalit continues as negotiators scurry to find a solution that would result in freedom for the Israeli sergeant who was captured three years ago. The issue that bedevils thousands of Israelis is whether the cost of setting free a brave soldier is worth turning loose hundreds of individuals who are accused of being terrorists or criminals. It poses a moral issue. A fundamental credo of those who fight in armed forces is “don’t leave your comrade behind.” A noble sentiment, but can it be employed in civilian life when the price entails potential danger to others.

Perhaps, there is a way out of this dilemma. Among the names on the list of Palestinian prisoners is that of Marwan Barghouti, who had been convicted of terrorist activities years ago, but there is evidence he has changed in prison and is ready to assume a leadership role if released from prison that might further the peace process. Are there moments when it is important to trust change in humans?