The Blog

The Cost of a Deal on Shalit

3:05 PM, Nov 24, 2009 • By RACHEL ABRAMS
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There'll be joyous dancing in the streets of Israel when-if-Gilad Shalit is freed by his Hamas kidnappers in the coming weeks, most especially in the vicinity of the tent set up in March across from the prime minister's official Jerusalem residence and occupied since then by Noam and Aviva Shalit as a fixed rebuke to the government for failing for three long years to secure their son's release. But the price of his freedom will be terrible. Among the hundreds upon hundreds of Palestinians slated to be exchanged for this one son of Israel will be those sentenced to life in prison for slaughtering innocent Israeli men, women, and children as they ordered pizza or rode on buses or drank coffee or enjoyed the sea-side or celebrated Passover. We'll see no celebrating by those victims' families, men and women whose own life sentences of rage and mourning were mitigated somewhat by seeing the killers of their loved ones punished. What will they do now? Where's the justice for them? And what about the cost to the security of the Jewish State? There's now a Hamas bounty of $1.4 million for every Israeli soldier kidnapped. Will the IDF not be hamstrung? Will Israeli generals not be forced to weigh every decision, every move, with that fact in mind?

When the Israelis' inimical interlocutor cares more for the life of one Israeli than for the lives of a thousand of his own blood-spattered brethren, there's really no such thing as justice, and there's really no such thing as safety from terror.