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What's the Big Deal with Gilad Shalit?

Really don't want to offend anyone, but seriously, I just cannot figure out what the big deal is. Frankly, I think it was a poor trade-off for Israel. Hamas, the captors who kidnapped Shalit about five years ago, demanded over 1,000 Palestinian prisoners to be released in exchange for Israeli. Perhaps I just do not understand what it means to be a martyr, but what it comes down to is the fact that I have no idea why this particular guy. He was captured by enemy forces as a soldier. He was not an innocent, but was a victim of expected circumstance.

I understand that his capture resulted in a lot of press, but should the Israeli government have succumbed to Hamas for such a high cost? Currently, Israel has released about 447 Palestinian prisoners in exchange for Shalit. Even if Israel does not release any of the other scheduled prisoners, that is one lop-sided trade. I also understand that Hamas was particularly harsh towards Shalit, forbidding Red Cross visits to the captive. Otherwise, Shalit was apparently treated humanely, and was most likely used as a pawn by Hamas forces to leverage negotiations. 

It is unfortunate that Israel forces did not have viable military operations in place to be able to rescue Shalit soon after his capture, as this would have prevented them from accommodating the Palestinians to the extent that they did. It is nice that the iconic soldier was finally reunited with his family, but the prudence of the entire situation is really what I question.

Back in the day, during World War II, thousands of soldiers were captured and held hostage, with less than favorable living conditions. None of them were given special attention by the military or their respective governments for their rescue. Obviously that time period was intense and governments could not afford to spend time rescuing individuals. While the environment is more calm now, I think the Israeli army could have used its resources more prudently.

The Jewish community rejoiced when Gilad Shalit arrived to his homeland yesterday. Although at an extremely large expense, the Israeli government and its people appear to be satisfied with the boy back home. One thing that is important to note is that the Israelis cannot afford another debacle like this. The negotiations set a precedent for the Palestinians, and if the Israelis attempt to rescue another one of their own, the Palestinians may want another 1,000 prisoners to be set free. Only time will tell in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but the Gilad Shalit event really highlights the Jewish community's loyalty to its own.

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