Unchanged intentions upon Palestinians’ release ‘alarming’

Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit spent 1,941 days in captivity by terrorists in Hamas. On Oct. 18, Shalit was released by Hamas in exchange for 1,027 Palestinian prisoners to be released. In the coming weeks and months, these 1,027 Palestinian prisoners will be released. Many will look at this exchange and believe that there is a lopsided victory: 1 Israeli for 1,027 Palestinians seems quite unfair. On the contrary, I think it is a draw. Former Prime Minister of Israel Golda Meir simply stated, “We love our children more than we hate our enemy.”

I am very alarmed, however, at the lack of change that occurred for some of the Palestinians while they were imprisoned.

A would-be female suicide bomber, Wafa al-Biss, was detained in 2005 when the 22 pounds of explosives that were sewn into her underwear failed to detonate when she was at a border crossing on her way to an Israeli hospital that treats Jews, Arabs, Bedouins and Christians alike. After being released from prison as one of the many Palestinian prisoners, al-Biss told dozens of Arab children Tuesday, “I hope you will walk the same path we took, and God willing, we will see some of you as martyrs.”

This was followed by the children chanting, “We will give souls and blood to redeem the prisoners. We will give souls and blood for you, Palestine.”

Unfortunately, al-Biss has proven that, despite her time spent in prison, she still seeks to kill Jews and Israelis at the expense of Arab children.

During this time, it was reported that the disputed prime minister of the Palestinian National Authority, Ismail Haniyeh, gave $2,000 to the families of prisoners who were released Tuesday. I am deeply disturbed by this stipend given to the family for many reasons. That money could have been spent on improving water quality, finding unemployed Gazans jobs or helping teach coexistence to children instead of rewarding those who were imprisoned for trying, and often succeeding, in killing many Israelis. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, together with supporters of the Fatah party, were seen in a gesture of Palestinian unity at rallies Tuesday, where crowds were shouting, “The people want a new Shalit!”

The differences in the Israeli and Palestinian reactions regarding this swap are terribly alarming. Hopefully one day al-Biss can apply the words of Golda Meir; instead of encouraging children to become martyrs, words of love and coexistence will be encouraged.

_Jessica Ost, senior in LAS_