Saturday, October 22, 2011

Legislation to Avoid Future Long Term Captives

How ironic that the radicalization of the Egyptian government led to an act of chesed/kindness as negotiators, that aided in the safe return of Gilad Schalit, albeit for sinister intent. Egypt, without the moderate Mubarak, desires to strengthen Hamas over Fatah, and they got their way with the release of key Hamas operatives from Israeli jail cells. Another victory for radicals was also scored when Hamas won a PR victory at America's expense.  They placed an onus on the Obama Administration to explain the delayed release of the physically ill Jonathan Pollard or appear more cruel than Hamas was to Schalit.  Hamas perhaps hope to seem more reasonable and diplomatic than the USA, even though the USA is the pinnacle of Western Civilization, and Hamas is merely a terrorist organization. It may deflate the wind in Hamas' sails if Pollard were to be released soon, so if for no other reason, perhaps it's time to expedite Pollard's release to improve America's foreign standing.

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Before Gilad's release, I began to write an appeal to members of the Israeli government to not transfer the 1027 terrorists to Hamas for Gilad Schalit's safe release, but I reconsidered and did not publish it. As the Talmud says,  In the same way that it is a Mitzvah to say something that will be listened to, it is also a Mitzvah not to say something that will not be listened to. (Yevamos 65b) The time was not right for a reminder of how bad it is to refuel Hamas. But as the great relief of Gilad being home sinks in, the great danger the government risked will sink in as well.  When emotions no longer rule policy, lawmakers will face the need to do something to avoid this from ever happening again. At that point, I could present my philosophic position of national security before nobility without seeming callous to the plight of Gilad Schalit, nor to the emotional sensibilities of those who prayed for him, and I was one of them.

Repeat after me, "it is wrong to release unrepentant murders out onto the streets for any reason."  You want to get someone from the clutches of a group of terrorists? King David attacked kidnappers (I Samuel 30), he did not negotiate with them. Have a SWAT team ready to go behind enemy lines, if necessary. Then declare a shoot on sight order against all terrorists in the targeted zone/neighborhood while also offering freedom from death and even amnesty of any form of prosecution of those suspects who protect the hostage. This will allow a reasonable chance that the hostage would survive such a paramilitary operation.

But how to avoid needing such emergency measures?

I suggest two simultaneous pieces of legislation. Instituting a death penalty for terror attacks, and passing a law forbidding future prisoner exchanges involving terrorists could be the preventative measures that Israel needs. 

If the Knesset only passes a death penalty against future acts of terrorism, it would not change the fact that Israel has over 5000 Palestinians in her jails, prodding Palestinians to attempt another kidnapping, God forbid. 

If the Knesset only passes a prohibition on prisoner exchanges, in the face of the disproportionate nature of the current capitulation to terror (albeit for the noblest of reasons), Palestinians could assume that such a law prohibiting exchanges could be repealed in the face of a new peak in national emotions. 

Only by passing both measures at the same time, could a mere change of law help prevent future kidnappings of Israelis.  For then it would be clear that a new day had dawned in the State of Israel. May it soon be so, by the grace of God.

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