By Schmoel Yitzhak
Sweet are the uses of adversity;
Which, like the toad, ugly and
Wears yet a precious jewel in his
And this our life, exempt from
Finds tongues in trees, books
\ in the running brooks,
Sermons in stones, and good in
every thing. ----------- William Shakespeare, "As You Like It." Act !!
Yes, there will be "Sweet Uses of Adversity" in the Gilad Shalit chapter of Israeli history but the positives to emerge from the soldier-prisoner swap won't evolve very easily.
That is, if they evolve at all.
For starters, let me point out that Shalit's return will inspire joy from Eilat to The Golan, from Jaffa to Jerusalem, as it should.
Still, it is imperative that we bear in mind that this is far from a Hollywood ending. This is not Eddie Bracken starring in "Hail The Conquering Hero."
There are no heroes here.
The price Israel is paying obviates any heroism. After all, a small army of convicted terrorists are being released and you can be sure they won't be taking weaving classes or tilling the fields in the months ahead.
What they will be doing is plotting ways and means of killing more Israelis simply because that's what they want to do and that's what they do best; no more, no less. It's in their DNA.
No less galling are the proclamations from Gaza that nothing in the deal will preclude Hamas from kidnapping more members of the Israeli Defense Forces. In fact, judging from public statements in the past week, the Arab marauders can't wait to get their hands on another Israeli serviceman -- or woman.
As London Daily Mail columnist Melanie Phillips observes, the deal puts more Israeli soldiers at risk.
"The terrible thing," explains Phillips, "is that by releasing 1,000 terrorists back to Gaza and the West Bank makes it more likely that not just the Hamas but Hezbollah in Lebanon too will redouble their efforts to kidnap yet more Israeli soldiers in order to further this devilish barter."
Did Benjamin Netanyahu have any alternative schemes to return Shalit?
Well, for one thing he could have followed through on a theme he articulated in a book written in 1995.
At that time author Netanyahu took quite a different stance. "Prisoner exchanges," wrote the Prime Minister, "were a mistake that Israel made over and over again."
Bibi insisted that it was imperative that terrorists serve their full terms in prison. "Prisoner releases only embolden terrorists," he insisted then.
It sure seems that way, doesn't it? But a good sixteen years have passed since Netanyahu's tome was published and political currents have vastly changed. With that in mind, one could say that in 2011, the Israeli leader had good reasons to okay the Shalit swap, as top-heavy as it is.
I haven't a clue what Jerusalem's political strategy was but -- to take a positive tack -- perhaps those who recommended that the exchange be made believe that it will lead to a more harmonious situation in the area. And if they are right, I will generously bow to them.
The odds, unfortunately, do not suggest such a fairy tale ending; not by a long shot.
"Now Israel will have hundreds of terrorists literally just down the road," Melanie Phillips correctly points out, "presumably poised to strike yet again and murder more Israel innocents."
Based on past performances, the Arabs have proven over and over again that there isn't a chance in a million that they will alter their toxic desire to destroy Israel and part of the propaganda program involves abducting members of the IDF. Why, they've said as much already.
And if they do? What happens if -- Heaven forbid -- another Arab clandestine operation is executed and yet another IDF member like Shalit is spirited away?
I'll tell you what should happen and that is an entirely new, swift and destructive response.
It should start with removal of kid gloves, followed as quickly as possible with a surgical, military operation a la Entebbe, to free the Jewish prisoner.
Should that fail, the brass knuckles must be applied. starting with a no-kidding-around ultimatum. There will be no negotiations; no involvement with German and Egyptian intermediaries; no more concern about world opinion. This will be between Israel and Hamas -- or Hezbollah as the case may be -- and now Israel publicaly delivers the demands.
Either the Israel prisoner is released or the ISrael Air Force begins bombing Gaza power installations out of business. If that doesn't work; then the water supply; on and on until Hamas cries "Uncle" and either surrenders the prisoner or surrenders altogether -- or both.
Should that no-nonsense strategy be adopted, you can bet that this time the Arabs will get the message; you take a Jewish soldier prisoner and you'll pay so heavy a price you won't even think about it again.
If there's any "sweet" use of the adversity brought on by the Shalit kidnapping, that strategy would be it!