Hamas has told Israel that it expects a higher reward for the release of Gilad Shalit than previously discussed. The reason given? Israel released Samir Kuntar in its deal with Hezbollah to return home the bodies of two Israeli reservists last spring. Hamas now expect the same standards to be applied to its own prisoner deal. Shocker! Who would have guessed?
The truth is, this development was entirely predictable and in line with the ways of the region. No matter how tragic the plight of Goldwasser and Regev’s families was, the Israeli government in all likelihood knew that the two kidnapped reservists were dead. By giving away such a high price for two dead soldiers, Israel has made it incredibly more costly to free a living one. I am not sure how this predicament reflects the application of the code of conduct of Israel’s Defence Forces, but given the code’s emphasis on the sanctity of human life, it seems safe to suggest that freeing Shalit should always been a priority for Israel’s government. It is a sad indication of where things stand in Israel today that this government has just made it more difficult for itself to fulfil the principles it purportedly claims to uphold.