So the drama about the kidnapping of Gilad Shalit continues, as does the [predictable] Israeli whining that it is inhumane to kidnap soldiers (but not inhumane to kill babies – non-Jewish of course). Recently, however, a twist in the story has developed. Or what non-Middle Easterns may call it a twist at any rate. For us it is simply too predictable, simply too naturally hypocritical. For the Western world that is used to Israeli propaganda and pro-Israeli cover-up, it is yet another “proof” that Israel is always willing for compromise. “Our” perspective (as if there is a uniform perspective in the Arab world! hah!) is dismissed as being clouded by anti-Israeli bias and hatred of Jews. They stand to accuse, failing to realize and refusing to acknowledge that just because Arab public opinion (what’s that? not sure myself) is generally tilted against Israel doesn’t mean that Arab public opinion (still not sure) cannot hit the nail on the head sometimes. A classical case of “just because I am paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not out to get me!” But what am I saying, this has got nothing to do with Arab public opinion! This is purely an issue of common sense! Wait, scratch that, guess there is no such thing as objective definition of common sense these days! Was there ever one? That’s a whole different topic, and I’m not quite sure if the conclusions of a discussion about it would be relevant to the Middle East anyway. There you go, another thing about the Middle East that makes you go “hmm”. I’m telling you, that’s a nasty habit if any, continuously hmm-ing. Hmm. Anyway, not to get carried away, what I wanted to discuss was a certain definition (or lack thereof) that the Israelis seem all too confused about but at the same time adhere to? Well, here’s the story of how I came across it. I was surfing Israeli websites doing an hourly round-up of developments (I read Israeli papers more than Lebanese ones, that ought to tell you how sick I am of Lebanese domestic politics – reminds me of the Energizer bunny) and came across a story reporting the latest developments in the kidnapping of Shalit. What struck me immediately was a subtitle somewhere in the middle of the story (they keep updating the page so it might be removed soon): “‘Non-terrorist’ prisoners only”. Hmm (the hmm again). I blinked. Looked again. Blinked again. Put on my eyeglasses, read again. Then went hmm. I thought for a while, what meaning does “non-terrorist prisoner” have exactly? What are the implications? I came up with little. I was confused. Aren’t “those Palestinians” terrorists, genetically so? OK, let’s say the compromising Israelis gave us a change in their long-held beliefs on this (how generous – if you ask me, if the Palestnians don’t rescind their claims to all parts of Gaza & West Bank for receiving such a generous compromise, they would prove that they really don’t want peace). Supposing that Israel’s aim is to fight terror/ism, then why on earth are there “non-terrorist prisoners”??? What is the definition of prisoner that is taken for granted worldwide? The minimum criterion is that he/she has to have done something wrong. “Thought crimes” do not count (or aren’t supposed to count), nor do “assumptions of intentions”. Of course, this is not always practiced by others, for example, by peace-loving, democracy-spreading USA of all countries, but that others do it does not excuse or justify what Israel has been doing, nor is it singling out if one points out Israel’s violation of these basic “common sense” points. Back to the quote, I will post it all:
The defense establishment is prepared to release Palestinian prisoners who have not been convicted of hostile terror activity, if a deal is reached with Hamas on the release of Shalit and bringing calm to the Gaza-Israel border.
The IDF said it would not support a deal that would release terrorists “with blood on their hands,” but only those who have not been involved in planning or carrying out terror attacks. The army would be willing to release individuals who are being held under the Prevention of Terrorism Ordinance, such as Hamas ministers and members of the Palestinian Legislative Council, as well as security prisoners jailed for relatively minor offenses, such as belonging to terrorist organizations.
Say that one more time???? Prevention of terrorism? I thought that was about bombing houses and killing babies in their sleep, or sniping at children playing on the roof of their houses. How on earth can you prevent terorrism by arresting anyone you suspect of harbouring terrorist thoughts, unless you plan to arrest just about everyone? And how on earth did “security prisoners” and “minor offenses” appear in one sentence??? Israel’s position in the kidnapping has been, from the beginning up until now, zero. It has proven time and again that it has neither the moral high ground (in fact, no ground at all, moral or otherwise) nor a realistic grasp of events and the reasons they took place. Hamas, that beastly, rising entity that is demonized by all sides, has proven more professional than holier-than-thou Israel, which is backed up by the mightiest military and political entity in the world. As much as Israel wants to show it is in control of the situation, developments have shown that it has not been, is not, and will not be so any time soon. Not only has the whole drama brought Fatah and Hamas closer, when before they were on the verge of full-scale confrontation, it has also revealed the sinister plans by Israel for arresting democratically elected Hamas ministers weeks before the Shalit kidnapping. These “details” are glossed over. Of course.
What more can one say? There is not much to do but wait, observe developments, and reveal previously unnoticed hypocrisies. We shall see soon enough what more Israel will come up with to present to its “common sense” audience. In the meantime Condie will be barking up the Syrian tree. Hmm. Hmm indeed.