On Wednesday I met with Noam Shalit, the father of abducted IDF soldier Gilad. Yet the very same day, we heard about Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas’ delusional request to our prime minister: As a goodwill gesture, Abbas asked that Israel release 150 prisoners, including Marwan Barghouti and Ahmad Saadat, the man who planned Minister Rehavam Ze’evi’s assassination.
A gesture for what? I was crying after I heard it. The grave of my son is still fresh. The pain is terrible. Yet despite this, I cannot but think all the time about Aviva Shalit, Gilad’s mother, who needs to cope with oh-so-humanitarian Israeli gestures while her own son is held in cellars of horror.
Does PM Olmert also have Aviva Shalit on his mind? I hope that our own people will make it clear to our prime minister that we cannot make any more gestures. No more. We too want gestures.
For example, we want negotiations on Gilad Shalit’s release to be accelerated. For example, we want Gilad to be handed over to the Egyptians. For example, we want Gilad to be granted the basic humanitarian right of Red Cross visits. Don’t we deserve it?
We have made plenty of gestures already. Sick Gazans receive medical treatment in Israel, and Israeli doctors have been saving lives in Gaza without asking whose children they are saving. The children of Hamas men have also been treated. Yet somehow we do not get any gestures.
Therefore, Mr. Olmert, I hope that you come back to your senses and realize that even goodwill gestures must secure something in exchange. And if Mahmoud Abbas cannot give us Gilad Shalit in exchange for those gestures, then make no more gestures, Mr. Olmert.
Gilad Shalit comes first; only then you can think about Mahmoud Abbas.
Miki Goldwasser is the mother of fallen IDF reserve soldier Ehud Goldwasser