The Price For an Israeli

What is the cause for the (in my opinion) unreasonable demands made by Hamas and Hezbollah in regards to prisoner exchanges?

Why does Hamas insist that hundreds of Palestinians must be released for one Israeli soldier or in the case of Hezbollah perhaps thousands?

Let us examine recent history. What was Hezbollah able to accomplish during negotiations for an exchange with the Ariel Sharon government?

Ariel Sharon, reputed hardliner, nick-named "the Bulldozer", agreed to release hundreds of Palestinians (I think the number was something like 760) in exchange for 4 Israelis. Of the four, three were deceased and Israel would only receive their remains. The fourth was an alleged crook who, after his release by Hezbollah, would be subjected to trial and possibly prison time by the Israeli government.

At the time, in discussions with some Israelis, I tried to scream this was a mistake. That Sharon was thus setting the price for an Israeli, even the bones of Israeli, at too high a price. What was to prevent, I asked, Palestinians from sneaking into Israeli cemeteries and start digging up bones for future exchange?

To understand why this exchange happened, you need to understand a little about the most devout Jews. I am not particularly familiar with all the underlying religious dictates, but I know enough to know that Israelis really, really think a "proper Jewish burial" is necessary. Most societies honor the remains of, particularly, their warriors but also the remains of society in general. The US for example goes to great expense to recover the remains of the MIA (Missing In Action) from the Vietnam War and to then discover the identity of the remains after they are recovered. However in Israel, they go a step further.

In Israel, Ultra-Orthodox volunteers hurry to the scene of suicide bombings to scour the site for the most minute remnants of victims that might have been spread into the surrounding area by the blast. Even the tiniest bit of a Jewish victim must be recovered for proper interment. No washing the gore down the nearest sewer opening with a fire hose in Israel, at least not until it all has been examined by the volunteers!

Now Hamas and Hezbollah know this as well. What is frightening is that even if those captured are executed, their value does not diminish by much. Israel will still be motivated to recover the remains, and the price Israel will be willing to pay for such recovery is, in my opinion, unreasonable.

The price for an Israeli was set in the past. Israel, acting through Ariel Sharon, set the price.


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