The New York Times and Israel

The Huffington Post and The Jerusalem Post

October 21, 2011

By David Harris – Executive Director, American Jewish Committee

Excerpt:

Of course, the editorial could have gone in other directions.

It might have dwelled on the extraordinary importance Israel attaches to human life, in this case the life of one soldier.

It could have focused on the nature of Israeli democracy, where Gilad Shalit’s parents never stopped mobilizing on behalf of their son, and created a national movement to liberate him, irrespective of the cost.

It might have reminded the world of the contrast between Shalit’s captivity — more than five years without a single visit by the International Committee of the Red Cross, much less his family — and that of the Palestinian prisoners, none of whom surely would have wished to trade their diet, access to the outside world and, indeed, to sunlight, or opportunities for education with what Shalit endured.

And it might have contrasted the moods following the swap.

Israel warmly welcomed home its son’s return, while engaging in a sobering debate about the meaning of it all and what might loom ahead.

Meanwhile, in the West Bank and Gaza, there were no expressions of remorse for the Israeli blood spilled by the freed terrorists in pizzerias, lynchings, discotheques, and Passover Seders. To the contrary, there were frenzied calls for the kidnapping of more Gilad Shalits, while Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, not wanting to be outdone by Hamas, lauded the arrivals: “You are freedom fighters and holy warriors for the sake of God and the homeland.”

Read complete column here. 

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