We'll get to the "we told you so" at the end, so as not to lose readers right away.
Who did not terrify us over the past 36 hours? Here come the released prisoners, here lie our bodies. They will never warn, those admonishing preachers, of a war - somewhere between Tehran and Aswan - that will inflict more casualties. They will never consider peace as an alternative. Our fate is sealed.
Settlers and their collaborators have turned gevalt into a profession. General happiness is their private anxiety. After all, Mitzpeh Hila is not a wildcat outpost on stolen land, so it is okay to destroy a home and a family there. More than two peoples live in the region between the river and the sea.
People called the Shalit swap deal, "the most important decision Netanyahu made," and there is no arguing with that. "The most important" because it is the only one. If similar decisions have not been made so far, it is not because the prime minister did not want to. His people already know the soul of their leader - when it will make a decision and when an excuse.
Who shall we thank? The "Arab Spring" to start, which opened a "window of opportunity," through which the view was previously invisible.
The Yesha council of settlements, which was bribed ahead of time with a committee to retroactively approve illegal outposts, should also be thanked. They registered their opposition, but they did not mount the barricades.
Special thanks must go to the young doctors, who drew attention to human life and reminded the government of its main obligation. When for a moment it seemed that Gilad was lost, they hastened to hook him up to a life support machine. That is how one soul was saved; many more are waiting in line.
Netanyahu himself should be thanked, but he already awarded himself his own accolades when he said: "A leadership is examined in moments like these, in its ability to make difficult decisions." That says it all.
We will not forget to thank Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, who dared to go to the United Nations and ask for recognition, and who is now being served his dish of piping-hot revenge.
There was a time when he was said to be a soft, fuzzy, baby chick. Now he is the proverbial chicken that atones for sin.
How long shall the wicked exalt? How long? Until we know the difference between those who have come to terms with Israel's existence and those who still want to wipe us out.
The former must be strengthened, the latter must be weakened. But we are confused and learn the hard way, always putting the cart before the horse. That is how Khaled Meshal has now made a fool out of Netanyahu twice.
This column has repeated itself dozens of time over the past five years, less than 1,941 days in captivity. Maybe this is representative of those columns: "This is not about saving Gilad, it's about saving face. How does one swallow baseless principles on which a career was built all the way to the premiership?" Or perhaps this does: "The cost of the relase is known and constant, and if the bargaining goes on it will skyrocket." Or lastly: "What difference does it make whether big murderers or small murderers are released? Anyone who spills blood is a big murderer. And what difference does it make if he stays here or is deported to there, as if terror attacks can't be implemented from afar; even from prison, and in any case there are enough murderers around to butcher a family in Itamar."
Talk to the wall, write to it. But who hears?
The government is praising its achievement, in not agreeing to release "major murderers," whose value is more symbolic, and more terrorists. They should give up that achievement and release Marwan Barghouti to Abbas and Salam Fayyad before we are left with only Hamas, all by ourselves. Just don't let them suddenly go moderate on us, those Hamasniks, then we will stop building them up, and start to tear them down.
In the babble of voices, between Uzi Landau and Uzi Dayan, one clear voice is heard, which brings one to tears. It is a Jewish voice, the voice of Yehudit, the mother of Uri Shahor, who was killed by a Palestinian in Wadi Qelt 16 years ago, together with his friend Ohad. She has advocated for the swap.
Nothing will bring the boys back, but Gilad Shalit is coming back now. Gilad is coming back and bringing a half-measure of comfort instead of a whole-measure of vengeance. A woman's voice brings hope, a super-human effort to bury the dead and cling to life.
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