In our world punctuated by death, wars, famines and a global economic crisis, good news is a rare breath of fresh air that we seldom get to enjoy. Then, just a few days ago, the news came from the Middle East that Israeli 25 years old IDF soldier Gilad Shalit was about to be released from his Hamas captors, and THAT, is good news!
Gilad Shalit was captured by Hamas on June 25, 2006 and held hostage ever since in an undisclosed location somewhere in Gaza. For over five years, during which he became an international figure, Shalit has been secretly kept away from any and all government delegations and human rights agencies. Countless organizations, countries and people have been in favor of his release…to no avail!
Because of the nature of his abduction and Hamas’ lack of willingness for any dialogue, his capture is now commonly and rightfully so, referred to as a “kidnapping”, one that goes against the Geneva Convention.
For the last five years, much prayer has gone in favor of Shalit’s release. It appears that on October 11, 2011, an agreement was reached between the Israeli government of Benyamin Netanyahu and Hamas. The agreement regarding the release of Shalit within days includes the release of 1,027 Palestinians in return.
The negotiations will take place in three phases. Firstly, in the middle of next week Shalit will be moved to Egypt and then to Israel while the first 450 prisoners will simultaneously be realesed from Israeli prisons. Secondly, After Shalit is released to the Red Cross, 27 female prisoners will be added to the 450 previously released. Finally, in another two months, another 550 prisoners will be released for a grand total of 1,027.
There you have it, the sanctity of human life versus the idolatry of death!
I understand how important the choice of the 1,027 is, in regards to the degree of danger posed by the release of some key terorrists, and I agree with Israel for not releasing senior Palestinian prisoners like Marwan Barghouti or Ahmed Saadat. I also understand, and frankly, I admire the commitment of the Israeli government to secure the release of Gilad Shalit. YES, ONE LIFE IS THAT IMPORTANT!!!
How ironic that Israel, so often painted as the “New Nazis of the Middle-East” or “Occupiers of Palestine” would see fit to exchange 1 life for 1,027 lives! But you see, Israel really is the only democracy of the Middle East and the only country to respect human life in that volatile region of the world. While numerous Islamists stand in line to blow themselves up in the name of Allah, Netanyahu’s cabinet stays up all night to figure out a way to negotiate for the life of ONE.
There are three guarantees from Gilad Shalit’s imminent release:
1. A number of the released prisoners will soon be back on the street posing a real danger to Israeli soldiers AND citizens, again!
2. Kidnapping will most certainly be added to the list of successful methods that terrorist organization like Hamas and Al-Qaeda will use to fulfill their destructive agenda.
Yet, in spite of all this, I rejoice with Gilad’s parents, Noam and Aviva Shalit as well as the myriad of supporters and friends around the globe.
I am reminded of this passage of the Bible in Isaiah 63:7-9:
I shall make mention of the lovingkindnesses of the LORD, the praises of the LORD, According to all that the LORD has granted us, And the great goodness toward the house of Israel, Which He has granted them according to His compassion, And according to the multitude of His lovingkindnesses.
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