Great news has arrived! The great news is the swap of prisoners between the nations of Palestine and Israel. It culminated into freedoms for a thousand Palestinians and one Israeli soldier, Gilad Shalit.
And for all the parties concerned, this could not have come a moment too soon! The negotiated prisoner swap is indicative of a new attitude, a thaw in the unilateral freeze and frosts imposed on peace process by Israel.
The government of Israel, particularly the Beyamin Netanyahu government, has, over several years, demonstrated implacable arrogance, intransigence and complacency, through its refusal to negotiate and interact with a demonized HAMAS and other representatives of the Palestine people.
Mr. Netanyahu remains obstinate and obdurate as he has stunted, stifled and stymied every overture for peace and a two nation-state solution, with Palestine and Israel living side by side in peace, security, and prosperity for all peoples
Israel has foisted obstacles upon obstacles and impediment on the Peace Process or Peace Road- Map as Israel have continued to, in rapid pace, egregiously expand Jewish Settlements on lands stolen from Palestinians and occupied illegally by Israel
As the world focuses on image and voice of Gilad Shalit, upon his release from a five year stint in detention in Palestine, it will really be nice to also spare a thought for the 1400 Palestinians massacred by Israel in 2009. It will really, really, really be nice to spare a thoughtful moment for the thousands of Palestinians in Israeli detentions even as I write this. It will equally be nice to spare even a brief moment and pause to consider the one thousand Palestinians used as bargaining chips for the release of Mr. Shalit.
The intractable conflict between Palestine and Israel or between Arabs and Jews has always been an asymmetrical conflict and it remains so today, even after these swaps of prisoners. This swap in itself is the best illustration of the disproportionate power equations between Israel and Palestine. Why, is it, the world should ask, and must ask, Israel is able to detain thousands of Palestinians in Israeli prisons?
Why is there no regional and international support for Palestine? Why is the overriding narrative today, limited to the voice and image of Gilad Shalit? Why is it that the American media is enamored by how pale, gaunt and disheveled Gilad Shalit is? Why is the focus on Gilad Shalit who was taken as war prisoner for a mere five years in comparison to Palestinians who are detained for upwards of 30 years?
Why are there no concerns for thousands of Palestinian political prisoners who are still enduring endless detentions and a lifetime of solitary confinements imposed on them by the Israeli authorities, even as we squander our tears on the mental health of Gilad Shalit as he returns to Israel and his family and friends?
Why is it, that there are apparently no worries for the trauma, the mental health and the family dislocations inflicted upon Palestinians by Israel as a matter of routine?
Why is it, that American journalists with bloated auto response in the defense of Israel, seem incapable of basic or even pedestrian questions regarding the fact that most Palestinians swapped for the release of Gilad Shalit, will not be going home nor returning to their families but instead, “deported” to Syria, Turkey and everywhere else, but Palestine?
How must it feel to be a Palestinian?
How must it feel to be “freed” from Israeli detention, and then by “deported” to Syria or Turkey etc, just because Israel says so? Who amongst us, would trade places with Palestinians? Why does Palestine remain the last colony and bastion of Israeli occupation and colonialism? Why is the world going to be tired of Israel’s arrogance, intransigence and complacency?
When is the world going to say, enough is enough to Israel’s usurpation of Palestine land, economy and political space? When will the world inform Israel to the effect that, Palestinians are humans too and the lives of Palestinians are as valuable as the lives of Israelis?
The current government of Israel needs to make meaningful compromise for peace… Mr. Beyamin Netanyahu must recognize the equal value for the humanity of Israelis and Palestinians! The continuing dehumanization and devaluing of Palestinian lives must stop!
Palestine is outgunned with bunker-buster and ultra- modern sophisticated jet fighter planes with the help of America, but imagine if Palestine and Israel have equal access to military arms, ammunitions and hardware and other strategic coordinates? Imagine if Palestine and Israel have identical global support and therefore a balance of power? Imbalance of power is military; Israel is amply supplied by America.
Imagine if Palestine can arrest and detain as many Israelis as Palestine do with Palestinians?
Intransigence must stop… continued expansions of Jewish Settlements on Palestinians lands which are currently under Israeli occupation must stop!
It is the case that upon the announcement of the release of Gilad Shalit in exchange for one thousand Palestinians, the disproportion in the exchange elicited guffaws among some supporters of Israel, as they argued that the one for a thousand trade or swap, came about, because Israel places high premium on the sanctity of human life, particularly, the life of an Israel soldier and citizen.
These guffaws and silliness in arguments, which suggest that one Israeli life is the equivalent of a thousand Palestinian live, is perversely offensive. A life is a life is a life, be it a Palestinian life or an Israeli life.
Pretending that Israelis lives are more valuable and that Palestinians lives on the other hand, are meaningless, or that Israel place more sanctity of human lives than do the Palestinian people and government, is just specious, garrulous and spurious vituperations! Such attitude and comments which flows from such mindsets, actually illustrates the paradox in the Israel-Palestinian intractable crises!
Some think it okay to kill and mow down Palestinians as if swathing flies. But the detention of a war prisoner Gilad Shalit, is severely criticized by those same persons who would kill, maim, maul, “deport” and humiliate Palestinians in Palestine soil routinely and on daily or continuous basis, as if Palestinians are not humans! Many Palestinians have been held by Israel indefinitely and have not been charged with a crime at all. There are over 11,000 Palestinian political prisoners in detention in Israel. These are men women and children whose lives have been interrupted. What would you do, if you were a Palestinian?
Many supporters of Israel pretend that the Palestinians political prisoners which are being swapped for the release of Gilad Shalit, are “terrorist” and “killers” being released by a magnanimous, altruistic and benevolent Israel! Israel actually mete out subhuman conditions to Palestinians as Israel arrests and warehouses Palestinians arbitrarily in the off chance of such Palestinians escaping death and maiming in the hands of Israel’s military as it frequently happens
It must be remembered that Gilad Shalit is a soldier and was acting as a warrior against Palestine and Palestinian people when he was accosted. Gilad Shalit was never an envoy of peace from the United Nations or a nonviolence peace ambassador from Mother Theresa, Ghandi or Martin Luther King Jr.
Gilad Shalit was not vacationing in Palestine, put in proper context Gilad Shalit instead, was actively engaged in hostile activities directed against Palestine and Palestinians when he was taken as an “enemy-combatant” and a representative of an occupation force! War is not friendly, some die, some are taken as war prisoners!
There remains a disproportionate and lopsided power imbalance in favor of Israel; One has to wonder how would it feel, if the shoe were on the other foot, if, say, Palestine was to be
holding HUNDREDS, no, THOUSANDS of Israelis, the way Israel have been and Israel is still, holding thousands of Palestinians political prisoners in life detentions or indefinite detentions? What and where is the justice of having the unfettered and unbridled power to hold hundreds, thousands of Palestinians?
Why are thousands of Palestinians killed, detained and humiliated respectively… and the world does not bate an eye and Ron believes this is justice and that peace will come from bullying?
And yet Israel claims to be a democracy?
Real and lasting peace requires courage on all sides… the courage to make sacrifices and the courage to compromise for peace, stability and prosperity. Peace can only be arrived at or achieve in the recognition of mutual peace dividends to Arabs and Jews in the Middle East and by extension, the benefits of peace worldwide
Peace between Palestine and Israel, peace between Arabs and Jews, will only come about, when equal humanity is accorded all concerned in these intractable regional conflict with direct and indirect consequences for entire world. Peace in the Middle East is fervently wished; Peace in the Middle East and the entire world!