Omri Ceren is absolutely correct to note how disgusting Amnesty International’s moral equivalence is regarding the ill-advised Gilad Shalit release. Alas, if such moral equivalence was only limited to non-governmental organizations.
I’m in Wiesbaden, Germany, for a conference on Afghanistan. A German friend points out this German story which quotes a German foreign ministry spokesman, like Amnesty, as calling the swap a “prisoner exchange” and continuing to suggest Israel and Hamas should build on this episode to advance the peace process. If Europeans cannot tell the difference between a democracy and an innocent soldier kidnapped in his own territory from that of a terrorist group whose charter embraces genocide, then Europe is in more of a black hole than Gilad Shalit ever was.
Separately, I was meaning to do this but have been on the road, and Caroline Glick beat me to it. She quotes from Benjamin Netanyahu’s own book on terrorism:
The release of convicted terrorists before they have served their full sentences seems like an easy and tempting way of defusing blackmail situations in which innocent people may lose their lives, but its utility is momentary at best. Prisoner releases only embolden terrorists by giving them the feeling that even if they are caught, their punishment will be brief. Worse, by leading terrorists to think such demands are likely to be met, they encourage precisely the terrorist blackmail they are supposed to defuse.
There’s no nice way of putting it: Netanyahu is a hypocrite. With this swap, he has done as much to enable terrorism as have predecessors who believed they could negotiate with terrorists to bring peace. Had Israel made Shalit’s release the precondition for any talks with the Palestinians and stuck to their guns, then Western diplomats who see themselves as mediators would have understood they could not let Shalit slide to a lower agenda item. Unfortunately, the Israeli government lacks a coherent anti-terrorism strategy, and its diplomacy is notoriously amateurish.
Terrorism is a tactic. As I explained with former colleague Suzanne Gershowitz in this book chapter, there are costs and benefits to conducting it. The key to counter terrorism is to raise the costs so they far outweigh the benefits. With this swap, Netanyahu has legitimized terrorism and ensured the scourge will continue.