16 July 2008

Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev RIP

By now it is over. The coffins handed over across the border today contain the two bodies they were supposed to contain. The two grieving families will get the closure of their two year long nightmare.

The decision to go ahead with this exchange, with almost total certainty that we'll be paying the price of releasing a baby killer for two bodies, was not an easy one. I wouldn't wish to be one of the people on whose shoulders the decision fell. But it is over and done with.

As for the question that will be debated for a long time: was the exchange worth it? - a lot of hot air and acrimony were already spent and will be spent in the future. Uncounted angles, including the future victims of the "surrender" to the blackmail, the loss of face, the new kidnappings awaiting and the damage to something called "national psyche", whatever it means - all these and more will be thrown into the ring. Surprisingly or not, many of these angles are valid. All, or almost all of them, were part of the excruciating decision process.

There is, though, only one compelling cause. It is the cause of an IDF soldier - the grunt that goes to (and sometimes over) the border, doing his/her job as well as possible. Many of these soldiers leave their wives and children behind to do so, without fanfares and complaints. This is how it is and, unfortunately, this is how it will be for a long time in the future.

As an ex-soldier, I can safely say in the name of most of us that our unshakable belief that IDF and, indeed, the nation, will get us back from captivity, alive or dead, makes the service bearable. Without this belief IDF will not be what it is. The army that does not take care of its POWs is not worth serving in and the nation that forgets it sons is not worth fighting for.

There are a lot of things that could be said against and about the travesty of the current government, about the way the negotiations with Hezbollah were carried out, about the dirty politics and dirty politicians. One thing, however, should not be forgotten - it is not about politics, not about national pride and even not about the grieving families. It is about the soldiers.

As for Samir Kuntar, who will become a most celebrated hero in Lebanon after crushing a Jewish baby's skull against a rock: even in the pain we all feel because of the necessity to release him, there is a silver lining. Look at the people who celebrate release of one of the most inhuman murderers and learn. Look at the sweets being handed around to the crowds in Gaza, at Lebanese president and prime minister receiving the monster, at Shiites and others lining the roads on the way to the vermin's family house, at Palestinian president Abu Mazen congratulating the "hero's" family. Look, learn and remember.

And how could we forget the chief sleazebag pulling the ropes from the bunker, the "mastermind" who became so adept in torturing the minds and the souls of the people he hates? A person who accumulated so much "good will" of so many Israelis should be worried about his future indeed. Where there is a will, there is a way, Nasrallah. Sleep badly.

Cross-posted on Yourish.com.