Pay no attention to the men building terrorist training camps (sorry, "settlements") behind the curtain!
I recently posted on how Israel prevented one of its citizens who wished to emigrate from leaving. This week, of course, the news has been full of an Israeli who has been allowed to come home: Gilad Shalit, released by Hamas in exchange for 1,027 Palestinians in Israeli jails.
First of all, I'm glad Gilad Shalit is back home. He may have been a soldier, but he wasn't captured while fighting, simply snatched by a kidnap squad: behaviour more generally associated with the Israeli government than with that of Hamas. The ICRC were prevented from checking on his condition, which is a breach of the Geneva Conventions. So yes, good to see him released.
The prisoner exchange seems to have caused apoplexy in many quarters (especially among crazionists like Mad Mel Phillips). Even better, then.
But I was struck when reading this article reporting on the details of the exchange by the following:
"....under the terms of the deal Israel will release 1,000 Palestinian prisoners. This number includes 15 high security inmates said to have been directly involved in terror attacks"
So even taking the Israelis' description of their prisoners' crimes at face value, that's 15 prisoners being released who are "said to have been directly involved in terror attacks".
So out of what eventually settled down to a figure of 1,027 freed Palestinians, the remaining 1,012 were....?
Of course what they were is political prisoners, like Mordechai Vanunu but luckier.
So let us thank the Israeli regime for exchanging Gilad Shalit for 15 terrorists and simultaneously announcing the release of just over a thousand political detainees from its Gulag. It's a start.
However, before getting too touchy-feely about Netanyahu's change of heart, consider this: Mad Mel was right, but for the wrong reason. This does mark the end of the peace process, but not because of Shalit's return or the shuffling into sunlight of a tiny fraction of the poor bastards held in Israeli cells and torture chambers. No. the peace process is over because of what the Netanyahu regime quietly did while everyone was looking at the released prisoners and cheering. He launched a plan for a massive new illegal settlement at Givat Hamatos, one of the biggest pieces of settlement expansion ever. This "settlement" will almost completely cut East Jerusalem off from the rest of Palestine, and demonstrates precisely how serious the gangsters running Israel are about peace. Hell's teeth, even our supine pro-Zionist government felt inspired to protest. So did the European Union. So did France. (Of course, Tony Blair, who receives vast amounts of public largesse for his supposed work to improve relations between the Palestinians and Israelis, has had nothing whaver to say on the matter. No wonder the Palestinians -whose lot he keeps telling us is so much the better for his hard work - want him sacked and replaced with somebody who understands that there is a whole other country involved in "peace negotiations", not just Israel and its "generous" lobbyists.