One Thousand To One: Israel’s love for one of its own and the price of freedom

The Israeli family of Gilad Shalit

The Palestinian families

Gilad Shalit on his release day

The first of the of the  1000 Palestinians on their way to release

I wish I understood the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. It has been the great unsolvable problem of our times and it has got no less unfathomable today with these emotional scenes of freedom and reunion when the 25 year old Israeli conscript soldier Gilad Shalit was exchanged for the first of two convoys of one thousand Palestinian prisoners.
I understand, of course, that one would do anything to save one’s son and a thousand to one is a moving token of that love. It is also understandable that the Palestinians would celebrate the release of one thousand of their own without thinking that their sons were somehow undervalued by the exchange rate. 
Many of these men were also, in a different and more difficult to understand way, conscripts. Not all of them were bombers or would-be bombers and, I suspect, not many of them really set out to blow up babies in shopping malls even though that is the reality of terrorism no matter how noble the cause.
I am not as clever as all those international politicians who have failed to bring a solution to this problem but I do know that I would like, naively perhaps, to see a state of Palestine and a state of Israel living together in peace and where no one’s sons or daughters were pawns in a power game.
Meanwhile let those families rejoice but let’s also think of the families who are mourning their losses.

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