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Picture of Israeli worth 20 Palestinians

Galid Shalit kidnapped by Hamas in 2006At first glance the trade betrayed a racist inequity. This week Israel agreed to release twenty Palestinian women in exchange for one Israeli held captive by Hamas. Not for the release of IDF soldier Gilad Shalit, just for proof that he was still alive.

What is the worth of one Israeli? At first his captors demanded the release of all Palestinian women and girls. Later they asked for the release of 1,000 detainees. But the relative values are reversed. Shalit is the lone POW held by Palestine. Israel incarcerates an estimated 11,000, most detained for obstructing the construction of the Apartheid Wall. Exchanging Shalit would represent a trade of 100% for 9%. Don’t worry, Israel’s occupation forces can always capture more.

Gilad Shalit is the first IDF soldier captured by the Palestinians since 1994. Israel on the other hand, with the collaboration of Fatah, can arrest civilians whenever they choose.

Shalit’s capture is an interesting story. Israel claims to have received warning of the eminent kidnap attempt. The day before, IDF soldiers raided a house belonging to a suspected Hamas militant. They arrested his two sons, a doctor and a lawyer. Their torture allegedly extracted details of a cross-border raid. As a result, technically I suppose you could say, their intelligence officers “received warning.” However Israel was unable to thwart the tank operator’s capture.

Shalit has served as the pretext for many ensuing incursions into Gaza, at a great cost to Palestinian lives. Draw your own conclusions.

Israel propagates this story to assert that Gilad Shalit was “kidnapped,” invoking a litany of international laws which Israel wields against Hamas. With shameless hypocrisy, Israelis protest the inhumanities suffered by Shalit, ignoring the documentation of thousands of imprisoned Palestinian subjected to worse. The irony of Israel’s complaints becomes tedious: lack of International Red Cross access, parental visitation, regular correspondence, information of his exact whereabouts, etc. This in light of Israel’s refusal to permit oversight of its Palestinian detainees, or to denounce its tortures. What gall to decry the fate of one soldier, taken prisoner while on duty, with Israel’s demonstrated eagerness to expend ordnance and harass Palestinian civilians at whim.

Shalit has prompted Israel to launch aerial bombardments, and restrict border checkpoints in the effort to extort his release, or to pit Palestinian sentiments against Hamas, who refuse to release Shalit in spite of the collective punishment meted to its people.

The Israelis had reason to doubt that Gilad Shalit, captured by Hamas in 2006, was not dead. After all, the IDF was confident that their January incursion into Gaza had destroyed all known Hamas hiding places.

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