Gilad and terror

The BP Editorial Board

After five-and-a-half years, Gilad Shalit is home. And even though our community stands extremely divided on the deal that was reached —even the Editorial Board of The Boiling Point is split right down the middle —all agree that he evolved into a national symbol for Israel, and that besides having an enormous impact on Israelis, his return home also meant a great deal to Arabs and Palestinians.

This is because Israel paid a heavy price in exchange for Shalit; 1,027 criminals were released, more than 400 of them convicted terrorists.

While Israel’s emotions are very mixed, Palestinians generally celebrated in the West Bank and Gaza. For them, it’s a pure win; Hamas doesn’t need Gilad Shalit in captivity to protect Gazans, and they’re regaining many missing members of their community.

For Jews, it’s more complicated than that.  Palestinians have argued that terrorism is needed because they have no real power, that they are living under foreign occupation without a remedy and that their family members are sometimes jailed without a hearing or trial. Because terrorism is extreme, attention will be drawn to it. Some people will seriously consider their perspective and support it.

If we grant that the Palestinians have a grievance, which some of us do, it’s still ludicrous to think that a legitimate solution is to commit cold-blooded murder. Not only is this murder against average citizens whose only crime is where they live, but it also validates the government’s right to withhold power from Palestinians, since it is only natural that power would be denied from people who were an actual threat to life and safety. The idea that terrorism is some sort of outlet doesn’t make sense. Those who truly believe in solutions that require murder probably need to revisit their understanding of the word “solution.”

Gilad Shalit himself was a victim of terror.  He was held without any outside contact or visitors – a much more harsh imprisonment than that faced by Palestinian prisoners, who receive all rights due under the Geneva Convention. Whether or not the price paid for him was too high, we can all agree that it’s a blessing that an innocent man has finally seen the light of day, and he is safe.