Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Palestinians claim victory as Israel agrees to free 1,000 prisoners in exchange for Gilad Shalit captured 5 years ago, where’s the peace deal?

Dear All

The case of Gilad Shalit, an Israeli soldier captured by Gaza’s Islamist rulers five years ago is to have a happy ending.

He is to be swopped for 1,000 Palestinian prisoners in an exchange.

The length of time taken to free him was simply unacceptable.

Part of the cause is the less and then sterling performance of Israel in not recognising that the lack of proper civil administration and institutions in Gaza is a real problem.

If they was proper civil government helped by the Israelis to flourish then people like Gilad Shalit wouldn’t have been held for so long!

The Israeli government approved the deal following a three-hour debate after which both Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal announced the agreement in televised comments.

Mr Netanyahu said Schalit would return home within days.

Mr Mashaal, portraying the agreement as a victory, said the Palestinian prisoners would be freed in two stages over two months.

In this case, both sides will declare a victory; the Israelis will have boosted their government approval among the people and Hamas gets a good deal at 1,000 to 1.

After the celebrating is over and the cameras move on, there isn’t a victory.

There isn’t peace.

And unless Israeli grasps the nettle of backing Hamas institutions and civil government in general, there will be more Gilad Shalit incidents.

Mr Netanyahu said:

“There is built-in tension between the desire to return a kidnapped soldier... and the need to preserve the security of the citizens of Israel. I believe we reached the best deal that we can reach at this time, a stormy time in the Middle-East.”

Another start is to replace Tony Blair.

He is useless.

Add to this the Israelis need to establish a dedicated team with power to make deals to get Gaza established as a proper functioning city.

At present, it’s a pile of rubble and while it remains so, the people of Gaza will continue to put little pressure on Hamas to reform.

Given people clear water, power, a functioning city and pressure will come; no one is going to accept people setting up rocket sites in their backyard if law and order is established.

Civil government produces results.

For selfish reasons, the Israelis should rebuild Gaza by whatever means.

Genuine help to solve genuine problems.

Israelis need to think long term on what they are doing.

I am happy for his parents that Gilad is coming home safe.

Yours sincerely

George Laird
The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

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