Hamas released a cartoon depicting an aging Noam Shalit walking Israel's empty streets still waiting for Gilad, who was kidnapped by Hamas in June 2006. The father dreams of his son returning in a flag draped coffin as happened with Goldwasser and Regev in July 2008. The cartoon concludes with the statement "There is still hope..." If Israel were to release thousands of prisoners and stop responding to rocket attacks then Shalit will be returned. This appears to be the implication and intent of the sophisticated cartoon, as well as the suggestion that Israel's streets will be empty in the future. You can watch the video here:
Let's be honest and forthright. These are Israel's enemies. They are people who prey on a father's feelings. Israel by contrast always tries to minimize civilian casualties and despite Goldstone's biased report, adhere to the highest ethical standards in waging war. Israel is engaged in what is called asymmetrical warfare (where the opposing forces hide in schools and mosques). This involves greater civilian losses. Golda Meir famously said, "We can forgive the Arabs for killing our children. We cannot forgive them for forcing us to kill their children." Israel never intentionally targets civilians. Hamas's strategy is based on targeting civilians (both their own and Israel's), in the past organizing homicide bombings against those drinking coffee in cafes or riding buses or shopping in malls. Let us be thankful that Israel's forces have been successful in preventing terrorist attacks in recent years. Here they are targeting the feelings of a young soldier's parents and family, as well as that of the entire Israeli populace. The choices Israel faces are wrenching. If it trades captured terrorists for Shalit will it be encouraging more terrorist acts and more kidnappings? If it refuses to make such a deal then is it abandoning its soldiers and their families? I remain skeptical that there can be peace with such enemies. Despite this I will not let go of my prayers. They are always filled with hope for peace. Shalom is our greatest hope. For now I will be content with sheket, quiet, although Israel's streets will never be emptied and quiet.