is under attack and requires your help. Israel is being bombarded by a pernicious propaganda barrage, which threatens to undermine the IDF, the state and everything we stand for, and to imperil the lives of hundreds, perhaps thousands of Israeli soldiers and civilians.
Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser and their comrades, living and dead, fought for a great and just cause, defending Israel against an implacable enemy, Hezbollah
, which is sworn to destroy us. Goldwasser and Regev were kidnapped, and most likely killed, starting the Second Lebanon War
. Over 150 other Israelis died, many perhaps needlessly, but all in support of a cause that we all thought was correct at the time and which must in fact be correct: never to give in to the extortion of terrorists. Surrender to extortion only leads to more extortion. The Second Lebanon War
could have been avoided entirely, if Israel had simply agreed to release murderer Samir Kuntar and whatever other terrorists were demanded by Hassan Nassrallah, in return for the kidnapped soldiers or their bodies. But almost all agreed that this course would be perilous, and would lead to more kidnappings.
If my own sons had been kidnapped, I would surely not rest a minute. I would raise hell all over the world to ensure that the Lebanese government, of which Hezbollah is a part, abides by international law and allows visits by the red cross. I would stage demonstrations at the White House, at the UN, at appearances of American officials in the Middle East, as well as imploring Israeli officials to act for their release. I would not let them or the public forget their duty. I would, if it were practical, hire private detectives, the Mafia, other Lebanese groups to free them or at least to get word that they are alive. I would do anything, except to undermine the cause for which they and their comrades fought, or to undermine the IDF and the state of Israel.
But now Israel is under attack. The cause for which Regev and Goldwasser fought is being trampled in the mud. The source of the attack is not the Hamas or the Hezbollah
, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Mahmoud Abbas or British Jewish anti-Zionists. The source of the danger is in Israel. The people guilty of undermining the security of the state are not disloyal Arabs or anti-Zionist Jews. They are well meaning and worried parents, and their unscrupulous lawyers and public relations firms. What would all those soldiers, the dead and the kidnapped, think of this campaign? What does it say about their sacrifice?
The Israeli media are filled with pleas to release convicted murderer Samir Kuntar, and perhaps hundreds of Palestinian prisoners, in return for what is almost certainly the dead bodies of Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser. They are filled with imprecations and threats against the Israeli government.
It is not a matter of putting "honor" or "justice" or "revenge" above human compassion. The problem is not the release of prisoners with "blood on their hands." Rather, it is the blood of our soldiers and civilians that will be spilled in the next kidnapping. The success of the Goldwasser-Regev kidnapping will certainly engender yet another one, just as the success of the previous kidnapping, in which Hezbollah traded the degenerate Elhanan Tannenbaum and some dead soldiers for many live prisoners, was probably the decisive factor in motivating the kidnapping of Goldwasser and Regev. How many people will die because of the next kidnapping, and how many will be kidnapped? Those who are applying pressure for this deal, those who write op-eds, the parents and families of the kidnapped soldiers and their army of PR people, will all have blood on their hands - the blood of hundreds of Israelis. If we are silent, they will make us all accomplices in murder.
Miki Goldwasser, mother of Ehud Goldwasser, reasons
"On the claim that if Kuntar is returned, more will be kidnapped in the future, I can only say that had he been returned in the [Elhanan] Tennenbaum deal, you would not be reading my letter today,"
Grief obscures reason. Miki Goldwasser would be right if the Hezbollah had been formed in order to free Samir Kuntar, and if the Hezbollah had no goal other than freeing Samir Kuntar.
But Samir Kuntar is only an issue that is used to further the real goals of the Hezbollah, one among many. If Kuntar is freed, the next round of soldiers would be kidnapped in order to free Palestinian prisoners, or to force Israel to give up Sheba farms, or some villages in the Galilee claimed by the Hezbollah. And when all these issues are exhausted, the Hezbollah will send more terrorists to be caught, so they can kidnap more Israelis, and gain more prestige by striking more deals. Kidnapping was exploited in the 1980s against the Americans as a terrorist device. The Americans don't hold Kuntar. Had the Israeli government never done the Tannenbaum deal, Goldwasser and Regev would have been far more likely to be safe today. Israel and the Regev and Goldwasser families should be using every ounce of leverage they might have to determine if Goldwasser and Regev are alive. If they are alive, which is not likely, then perhaps it would be much harder to refuse a deal. Even then, there are ways to pressure Hezbollah without returning Kuntar.
Goldwasser and Regev were severely, probably fatally wounded in the attack. Miki Goldwasser argues that Hassan Nasrallah said that he captured live soldiers. Of course, Nasrallah is a man of his word and never lies. Assuming he is telling the truth, he is probably telling the exact truth. The soldiers were still living when captured. It is noteworthy that he doesn't warrant that they are still alive now. Nasrallah could surely make easy propaganda by trading a tape of a live Regev and Goldwasser, holding today's newspaper and "confessing" to their "crimes" for a quantity of Palestinian prisoners. He doesn't do it, and that should tell us what we need to know about the case of Regev and Goldwasser. Miki Goldwasser cites the case of a previous detainee, whose fate was unknown and turned out to be alive. But that case is probably not relevant. Hezbollah is no longer a tiny persecuted underground group afraid of publicity. It is part of the Lebanese government, tacitly accepted as "legitimate" by most of the world. i
Today, most Israelis, perhaps because they have been bombarded with op-eds begging for the release of Samir Kuntar without any conditions, with quotes from the Goldwasser family and a well focused PR campaign, Agree with the Goldwasser and Regev families. A Dahaf poll shows the following:
If, forefend, it turns out with certainty that Goldwasser and Regev are dead, should we agree to the deal?
For 61% Against 32% No reply 7%
That is only a small percent less than those who favor the release of Goldwasser and Regev if they are alive. The logical thing for Hezbollah to do, then, is to kill any kidnap victims, current or future.
Those who oppose the deal are largely silent. If we had all spoken out against the disastrous trade of Elhanan Tannenbaum, perhaps this new catastrophe that led to the Second Lebanon War would have occurred. If we had spoken out against negligence and incompetence and corrected it, perhaps the war would not have occurred either. But if nobody speaks out against this folly, there will be a much worse one. The future war will be the fault of all those who were silent, but primarily it will be the fault of the lawyers, the PR people and the poor grief-stricken and anguished families, who are directing their efforts in the wrong direction, and getting the ear of a weak and unpopular government.
"Never leave anyone behind" and "Bring our boys" home reflect some of the finest aspects of Israeli battle ethics, if "battle ethics" is not an oxymoron. But glorifying a bloodthirsty enemy and rewarding their crimes in order to retrieve dead bodies is criminal folly. The "dignity of the dead" is not enhanced by selling out the cause for which they fought and by creating more "dignified" dead.
Who dares to stand against the grief of mothers bereft of their sons? Of separated young wives, loves, fathers, brothers? Not many, surely!
But who can dare to remain silent in defense of those who cannot speak, because they are dead, and on behalf of those who do not know they will be the victims of future kidnappings or casualties in the next war? It is our duty to prevent this tragedy.
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Replies: 4 Comments
I canít claim to understand what the parents of these kidnapped soldiers are going through, and Iím an American, and this is really an Israeli matter, but I canít help thinking a prisoner exchange is a bad idea.
If the ABC news story from the other night is true, Hezbollah is preparing to attack Jewish and Israeli targets in Canada and maybe other places. Am I the only one who figures that as soon as the exchange has taken place, Hezbollah will act?
So if I have this straight, Israel will to trade live people for dead bodies, and after the trade Hezbollah will blow up Israeli diplomats, innocent Jews and innocent Canadians. I donít speak Hebrew, so maybe Iím using the term wrong, but wouldnít this make the Israeli government a bunch of freiers?
Mike B., Monday, June 23rd
Well said Ami. I would just add a few brief points. Israeli and Jewish spokes persons are much too PC to point out that a sadistic murderer - Samil Kuntar - is a much admired hero of Arabs and Mohammedans; that admiration pretty well sums up Israel's enemies and the supporters of the Arabs. As you point out, Hizballah is a part of what pretends to be a government in Lebanon and is a signatory to the Geneva Conventions, which specifically forbids the kidnapping of combatants to use as items of trade. The UN was is Lebanon before 2006 and as it did nothing to impede the build up of Hizballah forces which were a threat to peace, it is complicit in atacks on Israel. Finally, I would point out that it is the ruling Israeli elite and lawyers who have brought about the kidnappings through their pseudo-sophisticated enlightenment: people properly tried and found guilty of terrorism should be executed and their corpses returned to whoever wants to bury them.
Paul Winter, Saturday, June 21st
As insensitive as I might sound, dead bodies of Israelis should not be exchanged for live enemies of Israel.
I was shocked to hear Avraham's father telling on TV interview that he knew for a long time that his son was dead, and it did not matter for him that live enemies will be the price paid for his son's dead body.
With Tannenbaum it was different: we had to know what exactly he told his Hizballah captors.
Misha SHAULI, Friday, June 20th
You have said all that there is to be said on the issue. We all can sympathize with the desire for a prisoner exchange, but if emotion is put aside and cold logic is used, the conclusion, as you have so aptly stated,is that any exchange will lead to more grief.
bernard arkules, Friday, June 20th
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