There was another way for the government to demonstrate its determination to free Schalit. The Prime Minister could have appeared on television and announced that all food, water, electricity and other goods that had been flowing into Gaza would be stopped until Schalit was released. He could have announced that, should anything happen to Schalit, the consequences to Gaza would be even more devastating. The international community would have screamed about collective punishment, but it’s a sure bet that an urgent effort would have been made to free Schalit to avoid these consequences. It is very possible that such a strong approach would have succeeded in freeing Schalit, especially if the threat were credible. Even if this approach did not convince Hamas to release Schalit unharmed, as long as Israel kept its promise of a crushing retaliation, at least future kidnappings would have been convincingly deterred.
Instead, Hamas is jubilant about its victory over Israel, and justifiably so. Khaled Mashaal has every reason to crow about Hamas’ “great achievement.”
In contrast, the Jewish people have been “weighed on the scales and found wanting.” Sukkot, which is supposed to be a joyous holiday, has been stained and scarred. It will now mark our craven surrender to evil, to the shame of Israel and the entire Jewish nation.
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