Friday, July 18, 2008

Trading Prisoners—An Addendum


The prisoner swap is now complete. A convicted murderer, among others, has been released in exchange for bodies and closure. The Prime Minister and other Israeli leaders argue that it was necessary to pay this heavy price because Israeli cohesiveness demands that no soldier be left behind.

When the emotional satisfaction of taking the purported moral high grounds fades away, the strategic price Israel paid and will continue to pay will become sadly apparent.

If it was moral and necessary under these particular circumstances to release an unrepentant murderer—one who still plans to pursue the destruction of Israel—hasn’t Israeli leadership just incentivized Israel’s enemies to create the same “necessary and moral conditions” next time?

My heart goes out to Smadar Haran, the families of the police officers murdered, and the Regev and Wasserman families. My heart also goes out to the family of the next murder victims, and the next captured soldiers. Though you are nameless at the moment, your pain in the future has been made all the more certain this past week.

Bad long-term policy is often made when leadership sacrifices the common good for heart-wrenching immediate aims.

A vulnerable and weak-acting Israel will never be able to make true peace with its neighbors—only a truly independent, strong, and viable Israel can.

--David Naggar

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