Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Thoughts and Prayers

This morning it was announced that the two soldiers kidnapped two years ago, the event which triggered the 2006 war in Lebanon, were returned as part of a prisoner swap deal.

They were returned in coffins.

I try not to weigh in on issues of Israel too frequently, at least not in situations in which I can't have a true discussion, but I feel a need here to wear my pain on my sleeve.

In exchange for the bodies of two of its soldiers, Israel returned the bodies of several Hizbullah and Palestinian terrorists/militants/fighters who had been killed in action in attacks on Israel (including the body of a female suicide bomber) as well as several live terrorists/militants/enemy combatants including Samir Kuntar, who was serving a life sentence for murdering several Israelis including a 4-year-old.

I don't know if I am most hurt that Israel was unable to bring the soldiers back alive (although by some accounts, they were killed during the kidnapping) or that they swapped several prisoners who have blood on their hands and may still be dangerous.

Perhaps what upsets me the most is that in sticking so strongly to the moral imperative to return soldiers, dead or alive, to Israel, the country sends a message that these kidnappings are a legitimate and preferable way to achieve objectives against Israel. In other words, Israel is encouraging and emboldening those who commit these acts to continue to do so.

I hope that these actions are seem outside the Hizbullah propaganda machine, which will welcome Kuntar home as a hero with a national holiday and that some will see the humanity in Israel's actions.

Only a lasting peace can prevent the sorrow that the Regev and Goldwasser families are feeling now. My thoughts and prayers are with them.

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