A thousand days have gone by, and Gilad Shalit remains captive; 1,000 days that feel like 100 years of solitude and abandonment. He cannot live twice; will he be able to live even once?
Shalit's parents are packing up to leave the protest tent across from the Prime Minister's Residence, piecing together their smashed hopes and returning to an empty home, hoping for a miracle. But miracles no longer happen in these parts and in any case one shouldn't put faith in them. No miracle will bring him home.
Meanwhile, the curtain slowly falls on the government of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. Even before it is sworn in the government of Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu is issuing heavy hints that it will stiffen Israel's terms for a prisoner swap. Shalit wasn't abducted on our watch, so we are under no obligation to pay his ransom, associates of Netanyahu's say. Responsibility's sell-by date has passed and its renewal isn't automatic.
We'll look into it, they explain. We'll discuss and debate, debate and discuss, and then decide what to do. There's time, and hastiness is a Hamas characteristic. Public opinion has already swallowed the bitter pill. After all, this prisoner is Olmert's personal prisoner, not Netanyahu's.
No, Netanyahu bears no responsibility. He was in the opposition. Tzipi Livni isn't responsible because she's on her way to the opposition. Ehud Barak isn't responsible because he wasn't defense minister at the time of the abduction. Like every failure, Gilad will soon be an orphan - of the army, of the government. All he will have left will be his mother, his father, his brother.
For a moment you might think a foreign government is about to take over the country, or that the British Mandate has returned. But in reality it's just one government replacing another. If it is not directly and entirely responsible for Shalit's fate then why bother all these world leaders and governments? Certainly, one Israeli prisoner is not their responsibility.
Would you get off your high horses? The government bears responsibility from day one. Even if Shalit's fate isn't on your mind, his life is in your hands.
Even if you disagree with the outgoing ministers and their policies you have to recognize your responsibility for him.
Even if their sins are not yours, their regrets are not yours, whose tears are not yours; even then you are responsible for him.
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