You are not dispensable

You are not dispensable

Posted by Aditya on Sat, 2008-07-19 10:48 in

This is the message sent out by the State of Israel to all its soldiers and citizens.

Israel recently exchanged 5 Lebanese prisoners and bodies of 200 militants for getting back two dead Israeli soldiers who were abducted in July 2006 by Hezbollah.

I came across this piece of news here, and must say was very surprised. In India, many of us do perceive Israel as a hard state that probably would never negotiate with militants and give them even an inch. But it seems Israel has a long history of these exchanges, and over the last 30 years it has released about 7000 prisoners to secure freedom for 19 Israelis and to retrieve the bodies of eight others.

The deals do seem very lopsided and critics point out that it just encourages more hostage-taking. So what really makes Israel do this?

Here is an excerpt from PM Aaron Sharon’s address in 2004 after a similar exchange:

I have no other word to describe the decision to bring the boys home, to the soil of our homeland, carrying a heavy price other than a "Jewish decision." It is anchored in the legacy of Israel, and applies to everyone whose life can be saved, or who can be brought to rest in Israel. This is an essential moral commitment to every person in Israel, whether they are Jewish or have chosen to bond themselves with Israel.

It is a way for instilling loyalty and commitment amongst its troops and citizens that probably was very essential in the early days of this country. This strategy is very debatable, but yes it does make a huge difference when one knows (s)he has the complete backing and support of the state, and would never be a dispensable item for them. (This can be extrapolated to most places where an individual gives more than 100% when (s)he knows there are people standing behind supporting him/her.)

I was not happy when India released terrorists in exchange for passengers on board the hijacked IC 814 that was taken to Kandhar in December 1999. And I still do not agree with that decision or the one to release militants to free Rubaiyya Sayeed (Mufti Mohammed Sayeed’s daughter) in 1989.

We as a nation cannot afford to give anything to any terrorists, especially for ‘humane’ reasons. Israel does it, and I do hope it works out well for them in the long run. But we are already bridled with more number of issues than most countries, and having multiple ethnicities, religions and languages does have its drawbacks too.

I think it would pay more to be more ‘hard’ in our stance rather than letting any gun slinger be under the impression that he can get away with anything with us.