The Alternative to Blackmail

There is another option.

David Bedein,

David Bedein
David Bedein
credit David Michael Cohen

The outgoing government of Israel has fed the people of Israel with a monolithic message, as if the only way to free the one kidnapped Israeli citizen in Gaza, Corporal Gilad Shalit, would be to trade hundreds of lethal murderers for
The government of Israel can clamp a complete and total economic shutdown on Gaza.
his freedom. However, there is no need for Israel to release even one killer in order to force the regime in Gaza to hand over Cpl. Shalit. There is another option.

The government of Israel can clamp a complete and total economic shutdown on Gaza until the Gaza regime hands over the kidnapped citizen and soldier of Israel it now holds for ransom.

There is, however, one possible reason why Israel has not applied that option. According to a study released in mid-January by Globes, Israel's daily business newspaper, Israeli firms currently export $2.7 billion of products to the Palestinian Authority. Any economic boycott would cause Israeli firms to lose profits for the duration of any full economic sanction against Gaza.

A case in point. One of the Israeli firms that would express outrage at an economic slowdown with Gaza would be Dor Alon, Israel's leading gasoline conglomerate, which owns a contract as the prime supplier of gasoline to Gaza.

The new owners of Dor Alon now include the former Israeli Finance Minister, Mr. Baiga Shochat, and the outgoing president of the World Jewish Congress, Mr. Mathew Bronfman. And Mr. Shochat maintains open financial support for key political interests in the outgoing Israeli government.

Indeed, it was Mr. Shochat who was the Israeli official who personally wrote up the economic trade agreements with the Palestinian Authority, which now provides Mr. Schochat with personal gain.

People throughout Israel seethe at the very possibility that Israel might indeed trade hundreds of the most lethal convicted terrorists in exchange for the one Israeli whom Hamas has managed to kidnap. The people who most feel the injustice in their gut are the family members of the 1,478 people murdered by terrorists since the inception of the Oslo process in 1993. After all, freeing these terrorists would place highly motivated killers on the streets of Israel and create an incentive for Hamas to kidnap anyone else in Israel's open society, with the promise of even greater blackmail in the future.

Israel's outgoing prime minister and defense minister, Ehud Olmert and Ehud Barak respectively, act out their roles as defeated lame ducks without a political future and without any constituency. That leaves the third politician in the inner security cabinet of Israel, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, now vying for a post in the next government, who must be forced to hear a public outcry to impose economic sanctions on Gaza instead of streaming murderers there.

The time has come for those who want to prevent the disaster of a nation flooded with convicted killers to conduct
The time has come to conduct a mobile vigil and to march around the new building of the Foreign Ministry.
vigils in the most sensitive place - in front of Israel's Foreign Ministry, strategically located for the world to witness the protests of the people of Israel. The time has come to conduct a mobile vigil and to march around the new building of the Foreign Ministry; to surround Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs with those who who will demand economic sanctions against Gaza, instead of succumbing to blackmail.

The time has come to object to a policy that would free those convicted of the premeditated murder of hundreds of men, women and children in Israel in heinous acts of terror.

Early morning Friday and early morning Sunday would be excellent times for people to simply show up with signs at the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs. "Boycott Gaza to Free Shalit" should be the upbeat message. According to the law in Israel, you do not need a permit for a vigil, if you stay on the sidewalk and if you do not use a megaphone.

Not to speak out when a crime of this dimension is on the agenda of the government of Israel would constitute the greatest crime of all. The Talmudic adage can be applied: Shtika k'hodaah dami - "Silence means acceptance."



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