Wednesday, September 30, 2009


News From Israel

Sometimes the news from Israel is encouraging. For example, I was delighted when Prime Minister Netanyahu spoke at the UN:

UN Photo/Marco Castro

Yesterday, the man who calls the Holocaust a lie spoke from this podium. To those who refused to come here and to those who left this room in protest, I commend you. You stood up for moral clarity and you brought honor to your countries.

But to those who gave this Holocaust-denier a hearing, I say on behalf of my people, the Jewish people, and decent people everywhere: Have you no shame? Have you no decency?

Read the whole thing. It's an amazing speech.

On the other hand, I read the front page of today's Jerusalem Post, and how can I help but be discouraged?

Most of the headlines have to do with Corporal Gilad Shalit, the IDF soldier who was kidnapped by Hamas over three years ago (and who has not been seen by anyone other than Hamas since).

One headline reminds us that negotiations for Cpl. Shalit's release are ongoing. Another explains, heartbreakingly, just how lame those negotiations are -- Israel is planning to release twenty Palestinian prisoners from Israeli jails, not in return for just one man, but in return for the promise of a videotape of that man.

Just to underscore the point, another headline quotes Shalit's family as 'yearning for signs of life' from him; for all they know, the videotape will be of a coffin. And then there's the photo of Palestinian youths, cheerfully waving flags and smiling for the camera, in front of a wall mural boasting of Shalit's kidnapping. (Note the "2006" sign and the hourglass.)

Hamas operatives speak to the press during a
press conference in Gaza City, Wednesday. (AP)

What sort of monsters are these Hamas kidnappers, who have kept a prisoner incommunicado for over 1,200 days? And what sort of insanity is it to give them anything they want?

Finally, do Palestinians realize what this says about them, and about how their cowardly leaders feel about them? A rate of exchange has been proposed -- that twenty Palestinians are worth a videotape.

How can they possibly feel about that? Or have they truly bought their leaders' propaganda that their lives are worth nothing, to be thrown away in search of a tiny political advantage?

As I say, it's depressing.

UPDATE: The more things change, the more things stay the same. In today's Jerusalem Post, PM Netanyahu has some harsh comments about the UN, saying that if the UN Human Rights Council adopts the Goldstone Report on Operation Cast Lead, it will deal a deathblow to the war on terror, to the peace process (because "Israel will not be willing to take risks for peace if stripped of its right to self-defense"), and to the credibility of the UN itself.

(I haven't blogged about the execrable Goldstone Report; has done a far better job of that than I could. Check him out; he's on a roll.)

From the same front page, however, it seems that the first of 20 Palestinian prisoners has already been released, in return for the promise of information about Cpl. Shalit. (Sigh.) This first prisoner was in jail for attempted manslaughter, for what it's worth, and was due to be released anyway in November.


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