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Palestinian Hero Gilad Shalit Freed

But, isn’t he an IDF soldier?



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Marwan Barghouti

Marwan Barghouti | Wasn’t Freed by Israel in the Shalit Deal

Yesterday, October 11, 2011, there was a dramatic announcement: Gilad Shalit – an Israeli war prisoner in the hands of Hamas since 2006 - is to be freed in exchange for over a thousand Palestinian prisoners. The agreement achieved between Hamas and Israel is complex. The amount and identity of the Palestinians to be released had been agreed a few months ago; yesterday’s breakthrough was upon the conditions of their release. The agreement features two stages. During the first – to be held next week – Shalit and 479 Palestinians would be released. Twenty-seven women, all the Palestinian women imprisoned by Israel, will be released, though two will be deported immediately, one to Gaza and one to Jordan. 203 of the released male prisoners will not be allowed to return to their homes. Forty will be deported abroad and the rest will be transferred to Gaza. Of the deportees, 165 will be allowed to return to the West Bank, but only in 10 to 25 years; the others will never be allowed to return. 279 of the Palestinians released in the first batch were serving life sentences. In two months, Israel will release another 550 prisoners that it chooses. Neither of the lists has been made public.

The final phase of the talks got underway in Cairo last Wednesday, when Yoram Cohen – the current Shin Beth chief – and David Meidan, the head of Israel's negotiating team, met with Egyptian mediators while Hamas officials sat in an adjacent building. The talks were renewed on Sunday morning, after Yom Kippur, and the agreement was signed on Tuesday morning at 8 AM. It was immediately sent for government approval. The compromises made were simple: Hamas lowered the amount of releases it requested from around 1400 to the actual number. Israel agreed to release for the first time Palestinians with Israeli citizenship, denizens of Eastern Jerusalem and increased the ration of Gaza denizens to be freed. Marwan Barghouti – the most prominent Palestinian in Israeli jail – wasn’t included in the deal. Palestinians welcomed the deal, while the reactions in the Hebrew media were so varied that convinced me to call this article: Palestinian Hero Gilad Shalit Freed. The different reactions are all the result of a common agreement on what is about to happen. Good news for the Palestinians, bad for the Israelis.

The morning following the agreement, Yoram Cohen gave an interview telling Israel’s largest newspaper Yedihot Aharonot that “the world won’t end if we add another 200 terrorists to the 20,000 existing.” This is the time to remind the shocked international readers that Israelis still refer to Palestinians as “terrorists,” while the facts are different: the UN defined Israel as a “terror inflicting” entity. A different member of this terror organization, Uzi Landau, who is the Minister of National Infrastructure and member of the highly controversial Yisrael Beiteinu Party, expanded on the issue. "On the one hand of the scales you have Gilad Shalit – the Israeli soldier who was abducted because in all the preceding years there were many terrorists that were released and created incentives for his abduction. Opposite that, you know that if, as a result of this agreement, many terrorists are released, there is a tremendous incentive to murder Israelis and abduct additional (Israelis)," said Landau to Haaretz. The math is simple. There another five-thousand Palestinian prisoners held by Israel; thus Hamas may be expected to attempt five similar deals in the future.

Despite Landau and Cohen’s harsh critiques, the vote in favor of the agreement at the Israeli government was overwhelming. Twenty-six ministers voted in its favor, while three opposed. Landau was one of three ministers who voted against the proposal early Wednesday morning. Joining Landau were Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman and Deputy Prime Minister Moshe Ya’alon of Likud. Benjamin Netanyahu acceptance of the deal was surprising, having even been declared as “brave” by Shimon Peres, Israel’s President. The reason for this odd statement is clear; two out of the two Israeli prime ministers who made turns toward a stable peace ended their terms in odd circumstances. Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated; later, at court, it was found a Shin Beth agent had convinced the assassin to perform the crime, and that the last found a strangely clear path to who probably is the best secured political person in the world. Then, Ariel Sharon is in a vegetative state for years, after the ambulance – and not helicopter – taking him to hospital following a stroke got stuck in Jerusalem’s rush hour, and after being administered a wrong medicine for someone in his condition. Fortunate incidents for the Shin Beth, would Netanyahu be the next prime minister to enter this exclusive list? Considering Cohen’s reaction, he will probably still be with us for a while.

Netanyahu may be a coward, but he is not stupid. He knows the Shin Beth is watching. One false step and he will be the next star in the list of Shin Beth’s fortunate accidents. So, what’s going on?

The Shalit event took too long; so long that people began asking questions about the motivations behind the delays. I addressed them about a year ago when Shalit’s parents began protesting against Netanyahu. The last claimed that ever since Shalit was captured Israel was doing everything possible to free him. In the “Summer Showers” (Gishmei Kaitz) operation, the IDF entered Gaza during the second half of 2006 and conducted twelve different attacks against Palestinian targets. Israel claimed it was an attempt to find and free Shalit. Many were killed: 277 Palestinians and 5 Israelis, but Shalit was not found. This was a very strange act. It cannot be explained by an attempt to save lives. On a moral basis you gain nothing – to say the least – by committing a minor genocide in an attempt to save one person. The answer to the delay and strange events is related to the IDF itself.

Shalit was part of Brigade 188 – also known as Barak (lightning) – a subunit of Division 36, which is the armored vehicles unit controlling the occupied Golan Heights. This division’s activities within Syria are described in The Cross of Bethlehem. The 188 brigade is based on Merkava tanks. The last were designed and constructed in Israel. They suffer of purposely designed weaknesses. They feature weak tops and bottoms and require frequent maintaining services; in fact every few hours of engine activity they must be thoroughly checked out. Why is this relevant?

Everything from the construction of the tank to its maintaining is performed in Israel by Israeli companies. The Israeli economy is managed by very few families (see The Cross of Bethlehem). They make huge profits of military activities; especially since a large chunk of Israel military expenses are paid by Uncle Obama. The Israeli military oligarchy doesn’t care if Shalit is free or not: they care about the IDF moving around as much as possible; this means fresh dollars for their deep pockets.

Under the state-sponsored Stasi-styled propaganda, the Israeli Administration makes efforts – from Hollywood to Wall Street – to portray itself as an organization concerned with personal suffering of its citizens and soldiers. Yet, if looking at its actions, time and again we find a different attitude. The Iron Dome anti-missiles system is not being developed to protect Sderot, but to defend Singapore against highly paranoiac presumed attacks. Shalit freedom is of no consequences; in fact his captivity is much more profitable for the Zionist Deep Pockets’ Oligarchy. But, five years? Even gullible Israelis begin to suspect after so long.

Yoram Cohen – for the joy of a worried Netanyahu – reluctantly gave his OK to the deal. He was part of the negotiating team, yet he criticized it over the media, in an extraordinary example of untrustworthiness. But his criticism was more a message to the other members of the oligarchy than a threat to Netanyahu. As he said, he will now have to deal with much more opponents (he called them “200 terrorists”) in the West Bank, Gaza, Israel and a few even abroad. That means he’ll need a special new budget for that. From an administrative point of view, he just replaced the source of his budgets: instead of getting money for the “Shalit Operation,” he and his would get it now from the “Shalit Terrorists' Operation.” Haleluya!

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