Tuesday, November 24, 2009


"If Binyamin Nethanyahu approves the deal for the release of Gilad Shalit, this will be a surrender to terrorism" says the respectable political commentator Shimon Shiffer ("Yediot Aharonot", November 23). A surrender to terrorism?

As long as human beings have been fighting each other (that is, more or less, throughout the whole of recorded human history) they have also been capturing each other. When both sides hold POW's from the other side, they usually exchange them. It is the natural and obvious thing to do in such situations. Usually, no one calls it a surrender.

The State of Israel has waged many wars, and conducted very many prisoner exchanges. Also before Gilad Shalit was captured by Hamas. In fact, also long before Gilad Shalit was born. In 1956 and 1967 a lot of Arab prisoners were exchanged for a handful of Israelis. In 1974 the numbers were a bit more balanced. No one called it a surrender to terrorism. And nobody checked how much blood there was on the hands of the released prisoners.