Mission & Name
US Foreign Policy (Dr. El-Najjar's Articles)
Released Israeli pow, Gilad Shalit, the
By Yamin Zakaria
Al-Jazeerah, CCUN, October 26, 2011
The ubiquitous picture of the Israeli prisoner, Gilad Shalit,
with the skewed media coverage creates the impression that he is the
central subject in this episode of exchanging prisoners, and everything
else is periphery. Hence, everyone knows the name, the face and the story
of this Israeli soldier, who has family and friends, whereas the
Palestinians remain nameless and faceless, as if they are not human.
One Israel soldier for a thousand Palestinians, as if the timid looking
Gilad is a modern day Goliath, balanced by the many Palestinians who are
supposed to be physically weaker like David. The obvious question is: why
has Israel agreed to this asymmetrical exchange of prisoners; for sure it
does not perceive Gilad Shalit as a modern day Goliath who is worth a
In terms of reasons, one can certainly
exclude the possibility of Israel suddenly being benevolent towards the
Palestinians, based on its track record. An emotional and a cynical
explanation would be that Israel has become accustomed to killing a
thousand Palestinians or more for one of its own, thus, they have
naturally agreed to an asymmetrical exchange of prisoners. Since Israel is
holding thousands more Palestinians, including children, it can afford to
exchange one thousand Palestinians for one Israeli soldier, with plenty
more in its jails.
According to a UN1 report, since the occupation
in 1967 at least 750,000 Palestinian civilians, including children, have
been arrested, detained and imprisoned by Israel. It states: “The Bureau
is alarmed by credible well-documented reports of the systematic abuse;
mistreatment; medical neglect; denial of due process, legal assistance and
visits; arbitrary detention; humiliation; and torture to which Palestinian
prisoners are subjected on a daily basis at the hands of the Israeli
occupying forces, in blatant contravention of international humanitarian
and human rights instruments, including the Geneva Conventions.”
Therefore, Gilad probably had a holiday in comparison to the experience of
the Palestinian prisoners!
Moreover, the release of a large
number of Palestinian prisoners will help to reduce some of the burden of
maintaining so many prisoners; in times of austerity everyone needs to cut
The media have confined themselves to examining
the political motives behind this episode of prisoner exchange, but the
truth is - Israel is forced to save one of its own at any cost, because
Israeli soldiers are becoming scarce with a moderate population growth,
compared to the growing number of Palestinians, and even more so when
compared to the larger, Arab and Islamic world. This relative scarcity is
compounded by the high risks associated with serving in the armed forces,
in return for very little financial reward. This is probably the central
reason for the Israelis to accept this deal.
The Israeli regime
needs to assure the existing and potential Israeli soldiers that it will
do its utmost to save them, to maintain their morale and the supply chain.
Such a mindset to save Israeli lives at any cost can also be seen in its
gruesome attack on the Palestinians from distant using high-tech weapons.
Many young Israelis are increasingly facing the moral dilemma of
serving in a state that has surpassed the racist Apartheid state of South
Africa, and is becoming more like Nazi Germany. Although the Zionists may
have substantial influence and control over the mass media, but they do
not over the other media outlets like the Internet, Facebook, YouTube and
Twitter which are having some impact on the minds of younger Israelis.
Maybe, we will see an Israeli spring that calls on their government to
give justice to the Palestinians.
of prisoners has done nothing to improve the chances of having peace in
the region, as Israel is determined to see that a Palestinian state will
not come about. Being the far stronger player, it has the ability to sue
for peace on the basis of 1967 borders for a two-state solution. The
entire world believes in a two-state solution except the Israelis. How
ironic; a nation that came into existence through the UN is now opposing
its mother’s wishes to give birth to a Palestinian state.
Yamin Zakaria (http://twitter.com/#yaminzakaria)
Published 19th October 2011