Gilad Shalit
Photo: Reuters

Stop the Shalit bazaar

Gilad Shalit’s uncle urges PM Netanyahu to finalize swap for abducted soldier’s release

IDF soldier Gilad Shalit is marking his 25th birthday today; this is his sixth birthday in Hamas captivity. The only gift which the Israeli government and defense establishment can give our citizens on the occasion of his birthday, with the exception of his quick release via a swap, is the imposition of personal responsibility on those at fault for the abduction fiasco and ongoing failure to release him.


Following the recent terror offensive in the south, Defense Minister Ehud Barak declared that GOC Southern Command Tal Russo erred in the face of available warnings. The outcome: Eight people killed, dozens wounded, rocket fire from Gaza and deterioration in the relationship with Egypt. This failure is especially stinging in the face of the failure to draw lessons from Gilad’s abduction, where a Shin Bet warning was also available.


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Yet did anyone assume responsibility and paid the price for the failure? Did the IDF and defense establishment draw lessons? The recent events demonstrate that the answer to these questions is clearly “no.” The latest terror offensive shows that nothing has changed: None of those responsible is paying a price; only those killed or wounded paid a price. This is similar to Gilad’s abduction and the killing of IDF soldiers Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser. Yet then-IDF Chief of Staff Dan Halutz had the chutzpa to appear as an expert in interviews following the latest terror attack. Dear sir, show a little modesty.


I look at the sequence of the abovementioned operational failures and cannot help but ask who paid a personal price for them? To my regret, the only ones who paid the price are the bereaved families, Gilad, and his family.


IDF soldier Gilad Shalit continues to pay the terrible price of the entire establishment’s failure; of Olmert’s indifference and Benjamin Netnayahu’s inability to make a decision. Gilad is paying the price of Olmert’s aggressive arrogance; the former PM could have secured Gilad’s release for a minor price in the first weeks after the abduction. Gilad is also paying the price for the inaction that followed.


Intelligence failure

We haven’t yet mentioned the ongoing failure of all our security and intelligence arms, which for more than five years failed to acquire information that would provide us with a diplomatic or military option to secure Gilad’s release. Does Gilad and do all of us have to make do with former Army Chief Gabi Ashkenazi’s or ex-Shin Bet Chief Yuval Diskin’s admissions of failure?


As we learned from the social protest on Rothschild Boulevard, it only depends on us.

Only if we demand the price from our leaders and insist that they take responsibility for their failures, we may be able to cope well with the challenges ahead.


Netanyahu makes sure to direct the discussion over Gilad Shalit’s release to the question price. “Not at any price,” he muttered in the face of the 250,000 people who called for Gilad’s release in the large march more than a year ago. Yet the price of Gilad’s release has been known since the day he was abducted.


I hereby ask the prime minister: Will you pay a personal price for every day you fail in freeing Gilad, and what price would that be? You have the ability to free Gilad today. This is your exclusive responsibility. If you cannot take the decision, you are not worthy of leading. You should give negotiator David Meidan, today, the order and means to finalize a deal.


After more than five years of ongoing failure by two governments and the defense establishment, stop making coalition considerations; put an end to this bazaar-like bargaining.


Betsalel Raz is Gilad’s uncle



פרסום ראשון: 08.29.11, 11:18
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