The enormous relief at the release of Gilad Shalit is, of course, tempered by the horrible knowledge that he was ransomed at so perilous a cost. And sadly, that cost will only now be begin to be borne in the form not only of a propaganda victory for Hamas and its relative strengthening vis-a-vis the Palestinian Authority, but also tactically and strategically. The number of actual Hamas terrorists being freed is 477, and surely among them are planners and designers of skill who will have had time during their prison stays to come up with new schema for attacking Israel. Thus, if the Netanyahu government is to be serious about what has happened, it will have to remain vigilant, focused, and ready to attack. It will, in other words, have to do what did not happen after the withdrawal from Gaza in 2005, which then-Premier Ariel Sharon predicated on the notion that there would be hell to pay if the Gazans made war on Israel. Sharon had his stroke and the rockets began flying and his successor, Ehud Olmert, was ineffectual in response. Ineffectuality on Netanyahu’s part will lead to more Israeli deaths and more Gilad Shalits. Israel will have to take preventive measures, exactly the sort that get it into trouble with the NGOs and the Europeans and the cluckers on the New York Times editorial page, to see it doesn’t happen.
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