Prisoner Swap

Shalom lakh,

it’s days like this when I can’t help but shake my head in disbelieve. And anger. A lot of anger no matter whether I know that anger hardly ever contributes to a situation in a positive way. I have a good friend of mine who is Pagan and very much into Star Wars and the Jedi knights. She, too, thinks that anger is the closest road to the “dark side of the force.” To abuse of power and the production of even more agony.

“A jedi shall not feel anger nor hatred nor love.” – Joda, Star Wars Episode I

And the thing with emotions is that the more power you posses the more dangerous they are if they lead you to taking actions. This is why the Jedi, the most powerful among the galaxies, are to keep from these most powerful emotions. On days like this I know why I could never be a Jedi nor a High Priestress. I just couldn’t see how I could force myself into remaining quiet and calm today when I feel like destroying something. Anything. Even if it is only people’s believe.

Five terrorists and some truck loads of bodies (exactly 199 according to ynet 185 according to JPost) left Israel today on their journey to freedom in Lebanon. What for? For the little bit of hope that was left for Israeli soldiers Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev’s families. Despite rumors that had been around for weeks now that both were long dead. Quite sure the IDF and Israeli Government knew very well that all hope was to be lost yet still it wouldn’t keep them from the prisoner swap. So what returned to Israel today after 735 days was no more then the bodies of Regev and Goldwasser which have been identified and transfered to their home towns for military burials so their families, among them Goldwasser’s wive, can at least say farewell and, finally, grieve so that hopefully one day they will be able to let go of their beloved ones.

The family of Gilad Shalit though is still caught in the spheres in between fear and hope. And he, too, might be the one where hope is still existing for he is reported to be held in Gaza 752 days after his abduction during an attack at Kerem shalom on 25 June 2006. 752 days as a captive of Hamas … I daren’t think about it. Especially after Hamas refused to share any details on Regev and Goldwasser’s death. They for sure do so for a reason though I that reason might well be people’s imagination.

As for the group that left Israel today I guess they spend something rather close to a nice beach holiday in Elat in Israel. Samir Kuntar, most well-known of the group for smashing a small girl’s head on a rock when caught by security forces, is reported to have earned a B.A. degree during his time in prison. I doubt Shalit, Regev or Goldwasser have had the opportunity to read as much as a single book. Now Kuntar, who has earned the rank of a hero of the “Palestinian’s fight for freedom” has returned to Lebanon where he will find little time for studies anytime soon for endless celebrations.

In fact the parties have already started as a massive celebration of propaganda as Letters from Rungholt‘s Lila reports:

Shortly after the implementation of the Israel-Hizbullah prisoner exchange deal, candy was handed out to residents in Gaza

and of course

[Hamas’ Prime Minister of the Gaza Strip] Ismail Haniyeh, congratulated Kuntar and Hizbullah for “the great victory of the resistance, which proved the rightness of our way.” (source)

The PA’s president Mahmoud Abbas naturally was no different.

Abbas congratulated the family of released Lebanese murderer Samir Kuntar and sent his condolences to the Lebanese families receiving their loved ones’ bodies as part of the deal. (source)

Of course none of them, all convicted criminals was sent to prison. I mean … I can emphasise with the wish to execute your citizen’s sentence in your own country where you can make sure they are threatened according to your understanding of justice. That is something that happens all the time all over the world. But then, if I think about it a little longer, I am afraid they are being threatened according to those people’s understanding of justice in which a murderer of a child can be a national hero because of that.

As for Israel where life is often described as being sacred a commenter at Israel Matzav however put in words what quite a lot of people, including myself feel today:

What I don’t understand Carl – is why no one in the IDF takes on himself to have Samir Kuntar shot dead. Nothing in the deal says Israel has to return that butcher of a Jewish family alive. You know my feeling already. That would be more than Hezbollah deserves and I don’t see why Israel has to keep that promise to them.

I think there’s little to add to that. That point should have been made clear by now. Very clear in fact. Whatever more has to be said can wait.

may memory lighten pain





  1. Goldwasser has no children. A young wife, but no children yet.

    Omar Souwad, the Bedouin soldier from Har Dov, had two little children, if I remember well.

  2. A great day for justice today… in Lebanon of course. Israel continues to inflict pain and suffering on innocent Palestinians. Today they mourn while the Palestinians and Lebanese celebrate… and rightfully so!


  3. @Lila: according to HaBanim he has. Can’t check again now for the site is down but’ll make sure as soon as it is up again. Thanks for your comment though.

  4. You only need open your eyes.. 🙂

    Amnesty International posted:

    Its [Israel’s] blatant violation of the 1989 Child Rights Convention and the 1949 Fourth Geneva Convention has raised the concerns of local researchers, academics, and governmental and non-governmental institutions, especially in the area of mental health.

    Videos and speeches of ex Israeli soldiers show and prove just that and are posted on my blog.


  5. @Lila: I have indeed misread. Just strumbled over names and took them for his children instead of his parents. Man, that really screwed my concentration. Thanks a huge lot!

  6. @ATW as much as I’d wish for Amnesty International to be neutal on the issue it unfortunately has proved not to be. (Or do you really think there are more human right abuses commited by Israeli then by Sudanese?)

    Yet even if AI’s reports would use the same standarts on Israelis then on Palestinians Palestinian violations of absolutely every international law would easyly equal out Israel’s.
    Just to give you an example: It’s still Palestinians who reportedly use human shields when firing mortar shells and rockets at Israeli civilians. And talking about this it is also still Palestinians who didn’t give much of a damn about the recent ceasefire in Gaza.
    Anyhow I’ll have a look at your blog and see for myself.

  7. That will be a step… to see first hand what Israelis and Israeli historians are saying.

    As for Amnesty International, I could have quoted The Guardian, The Independent, TIME, CNN or any other source and I only selected AI thinking you would see that it’s more objective rather than otherwise. What I’m trying to say is that any criticism of Israel is still considered taboo by most Jews and Israelis even as the culprit. Unfortunately, AIPAC and its use of PR firms (I think 4?) in the US paint just that picture.. a picture the rest of the world sees very differently.


  8. It’s funny how I have seen footage (some of which can be found in my blog, actually) of exactly the opposite and have often had the feeling that the world and especially broadcasting in fact is rather anti-israeli despite pro-israeli.

    Anyhow criticism on actions taken by Israel within Israe is rather common. Just visit Israel’s major media homepages from time to time and you’ll see a lot of critic voices on nearly every topic. Though I wouldn’t know where to see those from within Arab countries. Just have a look on how a murderer of a child is been celebrated today. Where are the critic voices here?

  9. Critic voices? I haven’t heard you criticize your own either? The man was 16 when he committed the crime.. yet when the Israeli soldiers do the exact same thing, they are slapped on the wrist and off they go… that’s justice for you!

    Besides, why did the Israelis allow Kuntar to obtain a University degree while in prison? It seemed he wasn’t treated as a criminal after all…


  10. Just read through or on a random day; emphasize on the opinion’s section and you’ll find a lot of critic voices. Same at the (Isareli) blog-sphere as can be found here as for the prisoner swap: there’s more then enough criticism.

    Could you please provide me with the exact case of the Israeli soldier smashing a child’s skull on a rock? There have been children killed during Israeli air-raids, no doubt. Yet how many of them would still be alife if Hamas and consorts would cease firing rockets out of their family homes (a.k.a. “human shields)? And how many would still be alife if they hadn’t been made stay by use of weapons?

    Furthermore for me there is no problem with being a prisoner and earning your B.A.. What does the one have to do with the other? Just because you are serving your prison sentence doesn’t mean you aren’t a human being anymore. Having to stay in jail is the sentence, education has nothing to do with that and has in fact helped a lot of prisoners finding a useful place within society later on. I think it’s great if prisoners are encouraged to work on their education whilest in jail.

    As for Kuntar’s young age that sure could have granted him youth status at trial. Yet in most (“Western”) countries a list of points including psychological maternity and exact nature of the crime are used to determine a person’s status as youth or adult within the juridical system. Yet however that’s an interesting point: What would you have done with Kuntar if you had been his judge? What would you suggest? Appart from him being Lebanese killing a Israeli. Just imagine he’d been a “regular” criminal in a random country of the world …

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s