Sunday, 16 January 2011

The Exploitation of Israel & Gilad Shalit

Having previously written about how terror works - and that it is a method of mass communication at a psychological level - there is one small example where the usual terrorists tactics have failed: Israel.

For one, Israel has national service. All Israelis, men and women, must serve in the army. This usually gives them an inside, upfront understanding of what is happening; the very real threat they're facing. In and of itself, this is enough to provide life-long convictions of what that society is up against (there are, of course, exceptions).

Secondly, there is the short history of the modern Israeli State. Which, aside from its religious roots, provides a narrative full of wars of annihilation; an Arab enemy's strong rejection of the Jewish presence; and from Israel's senior citizens, memories of the nation's birth. The desperation in the fight to survive; not knowing from day to day whether their continued existence was a certainty.

Lastly of course, there is the history of the Jews worldwide. A 2000 year history of persecutionin foreign lands culminating in the Holocaust.

All of these examples show why Israel has survived the barrage of propaganda and terrorism: because of an immensely strong self-belief and knowledge of its history. The above reasons, therefore, could not be a stronger antidote to claims of Jewish illegitimacy made by terrorists, despite their attempts to revise and erase facts from history. But this does not mean that Muslim fundamentalists have given up trying. In Israel, psychological warfare has taken on another form: hostage taking.

Generally, the psychology behind kidnapping is pretty straightforward; a person is kidnapped, and a ransom is demanded. Out of fear of harm to the hostage, the ransom is paid for the safe return of the hostage. But while hostage taking has been in practice by Islamic terrorists throughout the world, the way it now being used with Gilad Shalit is having repercussions at a political level.

In demonstrations worldwide, we have become accustomed to seeing the left virtually hysterical about one issue, but silent on others. We hear never ending hyperbole about Israeli 'war crimes', but nothing about the way Israeli civilians are targeted by terrorists, even child suicide bombers. In short, protests and campaigns are organised in accordance with political interest rather than being about human rights. And Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit is no exception.

Rather than target Hamas and their supporters or the Red Cross in Geneva, the 'Free Gilad Shalit' campaigners have directed their efforts at the Israeli prime minister's residence, that of Benjamin Netanyahu. Their belief - and that of Gilad's father, Noam - is that as PM, Netanyahu and only Netanyahu has the ability to release the IDF hostage. It is simply a matter of negotiation - and will - on the part of the prime minister in order to negotiate an end to this ordeal.

But there is a problem. By raising Gilad Shalit's profile to such a high level, he has not only become a pawn more valuable to Hamas than all the prisoners in Israeli jails, his net worth has become an insurance policy for the terror organisation against any Israeli attempts to assassinate Hamas leaders.

In the left's pursuit to make Shalit a national symbol of the Israeli leadership's failure, with the left coming to 'champion' the Shalit family's campaign in a bid to weaken the Israeli PM, politically, the left have done irreconcilable damage to Gilad's case and the Shalit family and Israel's hopes.

The callously cynical exploitation of Gilad Shalit has helped Hamas become an international celebrity; as succinctly stated:

"Shalit is an irreplaceable asset for enhancing his [Hamas leader Khaled Mashal's] international prestige by bringing world leaders to his door to plead for the Israeli soldier's release. By this means, Hamas gains international legitimacy and recognition as a force to be reckoned with in the region rather than a bunch of rabid terrorists."

Should Gilad not come home, it is quite obvious who will be blamed, and who will make no bones about profiting from it.

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