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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

High school seniors: 'Don't free terrorists for us'

A group of high school seniors who plan to enlist in combat units after graduation have signed a petition demanding that there be no mass release of terrorists in exchange for them in the event that they are kidnapped.
"If I'm abducted, I prefer to stay in prison so that terrorists are not released," said David Lotan, a Rishon Lezion teen who signed the petition. "My life is not any more important than the lives of those who will be killed if terrorists are freed."

The high school seniors' petition reflects Lotan's sentiment: "In the event that we are abducted, we do not want terrorists to be released in exchange (for our freedom)."

The future IDF soldiers note in the letter that they would agree to a prisoner swap, if it was done in accordance with international conventions that call for one POW to be exchanged for another.

Moreover, the teens demand the state downgrade terrorists' imprisonment conditions.

"A situation where heinous murderers study for academic degrees and enjoy fancy meals is an intolerable disgrace," they wrote.

The youths expect to gather hundreds, if not thousands of signatures before submitting the letter to Defense Minister Ehud Barak and IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz.

Those who have already signed the petition said they intend to enlist in the army's combat units after graduating from high school. Some claimed that they have already been accepted to the army's elite brigades.


The teens suggest that the latest deal, which brought Shalit home in exchange for the freedom of 1,027 Palestinian prisoners, was a mistake that will cost lives.

"A thousand terrorists is a number that proves that the decision meant surrender," Liav Hamburger, 18, said.

"If the terrorists know that we don't capitulate to terror, the motivation to abduct would be reduced," Noam Sharlo, 18, added.

The petition was initiated by the National Union party's Young Leadership movement.
Of course, in the event that any of them are kidnapped, there would be nothing to stop these kids' parents from doing everything to bring about their release. Most parents would probably do exactly what the Shalit's did. But the kids say they are thinking now with their heads rather than waiting for hearts to come into play.

The kids' statement might (maybe - I wouldn't bet on it) restrain the government from doing what it did in Shalit's case. But this country has become addicted to doing these 'exchanges' (Ilan Grapel will be freed this week in another one) and it's unlikely to stop anytime soon in the absence of a serious terror attack perpetrated by people who have been released God forbid. If then.

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At 9:25 AM, Blogger Shy Guy said...

Manhigut Yehudit published such an online petition years ago, after the Shalit kidnapping when they first started talking about such absurd ransom terms. 1000s signed up. Speaking for our 2 boys currently serving in combat positions in the IDF, they say the same.

At 9:50 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

For Israelis, releasing terrorists is a low cost way of bringing kidnapped citizens home. As long as there are no further Israeli casualties, the swaps seem likely to continue.

I admire their principle and maybe your kids or grandkids might agree not to be swapped but as a parent, you couldn't and shouldn't put up with it.

And Israeli politicians are not likely to say "no" to families who want their loved ones back. Regardless of whether its right to do it in the first place.

At 2:34 PM, Blogger Sunlight said...

No one mentions the other half of the equation... that a kidnapped soldier, if held in Gaza, is a human shield for the rocket crews, as in Cast Lead. So the other half of the petition would need to be, "Go ahead and bomb me, if needed, to stop the warcrime rocketfire onto our Israeli civilians." It's really like having a living will, in which people (in the U.S., and where else?) put limits (or not) onto the procedures and duration of medical treatment (some of which is actually quite gruesome) imposed on an individual. The medical people's job, like the parents', is to extend life. It is up to these other means to allow the individual some say in that process. Maybe these kids should get their family members to sign these things also, so that the families will respect their wishes. That might influence the parents, but I don't think anything will actually get parents to just give up re getting their kids back home. Not in the human DNA.


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