PM Netanyahu announced Thursday night that he was stepping up pressure for Gilad Shalit’s release by ending privileges for Hamas terrorists imprisoned in Israeli jails. Exactly what privileges to be ended were not delineated except that Hamas prisoners would no longer be allowed to study for masters and doctorate degrees (!) while incarcerated.
All Israelis I’ve talked to this morning are totally exasperated with the government and completely concur with Gilad’s father Noam who (after hearing Netanyahu’s remarks) said: “We want to know why Israeli governments waited five years [to reduce privileges] during which time Gilad languished in a Hamas jail.” In fact, tomorrow will mark the fifth year that Gilad has supposedly been held in captivity having been captured on June 25, 2006.
This flurry of activity was a result of Hamas’ renewed declaration Thursday that it will not allow a Red Cross visit to Shalit—who has not been heard from for over two years.
It is instructive to remember history.
October 7, 2000. Three Israeli soldiers, Sgts. Omer Saued, Binyamin Avraham, and Adi Avitan, were on routine patrol along the Lebanese border when Hizbullah terrorists dressed as UN personnel detonated a roadside bomb and then abducted them back to Lebanon. Within days, Hezbollah announced it was holding the soldiers but refused to show pictures of the men. Requests for visits by the International Red Cross were also rejected. Hassan Nasrallah went on to comment: “We will not offer any free information, not today, after a week or in a month. Experience has taught us that information on a soldier, whether he is dead or alive, in good condition or not…can’t be for free.”
On January 29, 2004, the bodies of Saued, Avraham, and Avitan were returned to Israel in coffins.
IDF Spokesman IDF Chief-of-Staff Lt. Gen. Moshe Ya’alon at ceremony on arrival of Avitan, Avraham, Sawaid coffins in Israel
July 11, 2006. Hezbollah terrorists from Lebanon again infiltrated across the Israel border and attacked two Israeli Humvees with anti-tank missiles killing three IDF soldiers and supposedly capturing two others, Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser (five more IDF soldiers were killed in a rescue attempt). Speaking to the media for the first time about Hezbollah’s ‘glorious’ operation, Nasarallah promised that the abducted soldiers were still alive: “The hostages are in a secure place, very far away.”
On July 16, 2008, the bodies of Regev and Goldwasser were returned to Israel in coffins.
Regev and Goldwasser being guarded by their Hezbollah ‘captors’ before being turned over to Israeli authorities
If history teaches us anything, it teaches us that we fight against barbarians and must now prepare for the unthinkable. As much as I hope and pray that it is not true, we must prepare for Gilad Shalit to come home in a coffin.