Thursday, July 17, 2008

An unequal trade

I am appalled at the recent trade between Hezbellah and the State of Israel in which live prisoners were traded for dead Israeli soldiers, Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev. All along Israelis had been led to believe that the captured IDF soldiers were still alive when negotiations were ongoing between the terrorist organization and their government. As short a period as a year ago Israel had been assured that the soldiers captured at the beginning of the war against Lebanon were still very much alive. The fact that negotiations were held in earnest for their release as live participants was verified by the United Nations and others. Yet, when the exchange was made for several incarcerated Lebanese terrorists, there was no mention of the soldiers having been killed until at the last possible moment. To the contrary, Israel was expecting to get back live prisoners of war for the live terrorists and numerous dead held in its jails. What they got were two coffins filled with the remains of the soldiers they had hoped to restore to their families. This was the most unbalanced trade that could ever be expected to be negotiated between Hezbellah and the State of Israel and has left Israelis dismayed. Imagine if these were U.S. Marines. Would Americans stand idly by and swap our honored dead for live prisoners in a similar exchange? I think not. I know how precious Americans regard those killed in the line of duty. Israelis are just as proud and because of the size of the country regard each death with a high degree of poignancy. What is most disturbing is that the ill-conceived 2006 war between Israel and Hezbellah, was set off by Goldwasser and Regev's capture. Following the ceasefire, posters demanding their safe return went up across Israel, the United States and elsewhere around the world. JTA reports that a forensic examination of the bodies suggests Goldwasser and Regev were killed due to injuries sustained at the time of their capure and might well have been dead at the start of the six-week exchange between the Iranian backed terrorist organization and Israel. Yesterday I received an e-mail message from the Israeli representative (Community Shilchah) to New Orleans. She closed it with the words "May G-d avenge their blood." In a war that is waged in the name of the Almighty, both sides can claim divine providence and intervention. I am certain that cries of "Praise Allah!" were uttered when the Lebanese terrorists were restored to their families. It is a shame that men and women must pay the ultimate price and all in the name of religion and politics.

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