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Gilad Schalit, once a captive, is now a soldier again

I have been crying since 10:24 this morning. After three hours, my television was finally on mute, but suddenly my eyes caught a flurry of activity: grainy footage of a tiny but unmistakable youngster, walking in a slanted way and being propped or dragged under his arms by people who obviously controlled him. It was the first image of Gilad Schalit emerging from captivity. He was wearing a button-down stiff-collar shirt, so new it still had original packing creases, what looked like jeans, and a black baseball cap.

The staid reporters on Channel 2 choked up in unison, they sniffled in stereo as they saw these pictures that made a national, five-and-a-half year dream into a flesh and blood reality. Over these years, I had often told myself Schalit was already dead or would be killed, to avoid drowning in unrealized hopes, given all the time and carnage since his capture. Seeing him was like the resurrection of a lost beloved, and yes, I cried – for his parents made him one of us to every Israeli.

For over five years, Gilad Schalit’s face decorated our lives every day and everywhere, in videos and photos taken from his life before captivity. The Gilad of these images is remarkably lovable. I was captivated by those clips, the way many of us cannot tear our eyes away from adorable toddlers in those fleeting years when they are both little people but still convey irrepressible naïveté and delight.

To see him now, alive and animated, was remarkable: now midway through his 20s and having suffered a five-year horror, he still looks smooth and shy. He is a bit more pale, there is fear, confusion, perhaps some cynicism in his wandering eyes, but he radiates perfect innocence.

Then, the IDF received him. Upon reaching Israeli soil, his first act was to change into a military uniform. The kid’s eyes could hardly focus – perhaps from meeting so many people after largely lonely confinement, as it seems – or perhaps unused to sunlight. When he walked out of the trailer with his new clothes, he absently walked to his right – where an IDF officer gently stopped him and guided him to his left. I’ve seen the footage dozens of times now and it’s unclear if Schalit could comprehend or even care which way he walked.

Yet within the hour, he knew how to do one thing very well: salute. With the footage repeated endlessly, in slow motion, you get a real good look. This is no ordinary salute that he gave to the Prime Minister, the Chief of Staff, the Defense Minister. It was graceful, gorgeous – like a dancer whose teacher drilled him to lift elbow first, then wrist, lovingly, and let this propel the whole body upward – “stretch that neck, look at the horizon, imagine yourself rising to venerate your superiors!” I can almost hear her say. But my hunch tells me that the person who reminded him to salute, and how, was a man, and probably one in a uniform too.

It worked. Gilad Schalit transformed, before my crying eyes, from a liberated boy in a baseball cap and jeans, into a proud soldier again. Of course it wasn’t the real Gilad Schalit who transformed, it was the symbol of Gilad Schalit, one that the government and the army needed to take back from the national image of the innocent boy.

I felt a painful irony: For over five years, Noam and Aviva Schalit made him into everyone’s son and that’s how they got him released; then the state made him back into a soldier – which is how he got captured.

One commentator said that the ritual conveyed an important message to all Israeli soldiers, or future soldiers: if you are captured, the state will save you. I understand that. I just interpreted it a bit differently: “this soldier could be you.”

Of course I don’t know the real, flesh and blood Gilad Schalit and he may very well embrace his soldier identity. But that’s the private Gilad, not the national symbol.

Finally: I would like to now banish Hamas forever, for the crime of blackmailing their enemies by barbaric treatment of a human being who was denied even the basic human right given to prisoners, of contact with their loved ones – to win the freedom of many convicted citizen-butchers (among others). I normally spare no words in criticizing my own government and I won’t spare any now for Hamas. Here are my unsolicited thoughts to the Palestinian people: degradation of human life will never be limited to the enemy – even now, Hamas has reduced your prisoners to one-thousandth of an Israeli. Please think about Gilad Schalit on your way to the ballot box – inshallah soon – and you will see the fate of your own sons and daughters, if they ever run afoul of this gang.

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    1. Jalal

      “now midway through his 20s and having suffered a five-year horror”

      All I can say is, Really?

      What about Palestinians, who have never touched a gun or aided in the killing of Israeli civilians, now serving unjust terms in prison for decades?
      Many Prisoners, among them is Nael Barghouti, have served more prison time than they have lived outside (Again, they are not connected to acts of violence against Israeli CIVILIANS) Some have been in Prison for decades, some where arrested in their teenage years. Again, 5 years is nothing compared to horror suffered by thousands of Palestinians.
      Palestinians are entering jail as young youth, accused of being affiliated with a political party. Those youth leave jail as old men having wasted their climax years.

      As for innocent Gilad, not to mention he was arrested on DUTY inside a tank as a Soldier in a COMBAT ZONE (unlike Israel which arrests Palestinians in their bed for collective punishment reasons), who DOES takes accountability for the massacre of 1400 Palestinian civilians in Gaza back in 2008?
      I’d really like to know, who will take accountability of that massacre?
      Ariel Sharon committed atrocities, massacred hundreds in Jenin and conducted many other massacres in Lebanon, but what jail time has he served? Instead he became a Prime Minister.
      If I want to take your argument, we have the right to put in jail young Israeli soldiers responsible of massacring Palestinian civilians, we’ll give each soldier multiple life terms, ruin their lives, and release them after 30-40 years in some prisoner exchange.
      If not, then we’ll take the big bosses responsible of the young soldiers’ actions, and hand them 1400 life terms in prison.
      That is Israel, but in our case not everyone was connected to harming Israeli civilians, rather purely for political activism.

      “even now, Hamas has reduced your prisoners to one-thousandth of an Israeli”
      Let us look at it this way, Hamas SUCCEEDED to free 1027 Palestinian political prisoners in exchange for one soldier, this is not something to be ashamed of.

      Palestinian anchors, Palestinian crowds where also crying and tearing today as they saw their (once children) return to them as old men or women who have spent their peak years of life, inside dark Israeli Jails.

      oh and PS: There are 19 Palestinians serving solitary confinement for YEARS in Israeli jails, and it is still ongoing. Why should this be accepted by humanity? That is similar to Gilad Shalit’s case, but with 19 Palestinians and even MORE YEARS IN LONELY DARKNESS. I don’t see an outcry on that aspect.

      Reply to Comment
    2. Jalal, I think you’re expecting too much of one article and not accepting a very basic point: that I can want human rights for Palestinians AND for Gilad Shalit. I agree with everything you write and you are invited to post an excellent article about it. But this is a different article.
      Furthermore, maybe I need to clarify what I was trying to say: there is a symbolic aspect that conjures and consolidates the emotions that drove his release. That symbol, and those emotions, were predicated on the perception of his youth and innocence, regardless of reality (maybe he’s a jerk in real life, who knows?). My point is that this is how israelis experienced it, and if you just deny that because you don’t like it, you are willfully failing to understand israeli society. your choice – but i was trying to convey what’s going on here and put the reader inside it. I’d like nothing better than to read such an insider view of pal society – and equally critical, for that matter. From you 🙂

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    3. AYLA

      @Jalal–I always appreciate your comments, and truly appreciate your justified outrage, and heartbreak, on the subject of Palestinian prisoners in Israel. This comment (mine) has nothing to do with the content of what you posted here, or what you posted on LD’s post, all which I take to heart. I just want to say, you’re falling into the trap that the serial pro-Israel commenters (you know who they are) fall into, here. If DS writes, ““now midway through his 20s and having suffered a five-year horror”, she is not taking away from anything you’re saying, here. Sympathizing with one person is not being unsympathetic to the others. This post simply isn’t about Palestinian prisoners in Israel. I know that on one hand, it’s impossible to separate any of these issues out; they’re all so interconnected, as today has shown us vividly. But. Let’s not allow ourselves to become so “us vs. them” as to read indifference about Palestinian prisoners into the simplest statement: Gilad IS midway through his 20’s, and he HAS suffered a five year horror.

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    4. David

      Dahlia, I’ll forgive you for wrapping yourself in the flag and being swept away in the wave of nationalist sentiment. In nations like yours and mine, this is tough to avoid.

      But while we’re all on the moral high horse and indignant at the mistreatment of prisoners, including women and minors, let’s also banish all the parties in your governing coalition, starting with the Likud for similar crimes.

      Israelis may think their army and prisons are the most moral in the world, but let’s get real.

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    5. David, I wonder if anyone reading this post has ever experienced israeli society. this is a very critical article from an israeli perspective, and since you’re reading this, please accept that I am Israeli, one who believes passionately in human rights for everyone. my whole point was that i was horrified to see Schalit wrapped up in the nationalist/militarist flag the moment he touched down, when it was this very nationalist/militarist flag and its policies that I have long repudiated, and that led to his captivity. I was swept away by the HUMAN drama, then the NATIONALIST drama swept the humanity away. i agree 100% with your point about the israeli governing coalition, which in no way contradicts anything written here; nor have i ever indicated that israeli treatment of prisoners is moral – so please don’t impose your image of typical israeli thinking onto my words.

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    6. John Ryan

      It is so strange to think that, in Dahlia’s writing, Israeli means Israeli Jew. Israeli cannot mean Israeli Arab. Sad that this thinking allows fellow “Israelis” to contemplate expelling Israeli Arabs by saying that their children will not have Israeli citizenship. What a mess when religion and state meet.

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    7. Delphine Goldberg

      I loved the article but I felt really irritated about the comment of one Israeli equalling 1,000 Palestinians. It probably has something to do with the fact that Israeli propaganda teaches that the life of a Jewish Israeli is worth more than a hundred of a Palestinian. (I think this is mostly in the IDF not so sure about mainstream Jewish Israeli culture although I have noticed a large percent of Israelis and even Jews in the US saying that.)

      But David does make a great point. How do you manage to be nationalistic to Israel? As a Jew I have long cast away the Israeli flag since to me it means nothing more than Apartheid but I’m also American/Kenyan so I can easily cast away a flag of a country I’ve never set foot on.

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    8. AYLA

      I really appreciate this post. Not only is it a true, insider israeli account, complete with emotion, but you really highlight the ways in which it seemed as if Gilad was going from being their captive, dressed by them and held up by them as he walked, to being our puppet / symbol, uniformed by us. I can’t wait to hear Gilad speak for himself, and hope that he feels free to, when he’s ready. I find Israel to be largely oblivious to the effect an Israeli army uniform has on Palestinians, and neighboring Arabs. I have Palestinian friends in Israel who were scared to be near any Israeli in uniform for a long time, not because of anything practical (like they’d ask to see a permit), but out of a gut response to the uniform they’d experience under occupation all their lives. It took a long time living in Israel for them to begin to understand why/how Israelis see Gilad (for example) as everyone’s son. So when Israel puts the uniform on him–yes, exactly what he was taken for in the first place–to welcome him back, and asks him (at least via gesture) to salute, I’d imagine it feels to Palestinians a lot like what it felt like for Israelis to hear Abbas call everyone who returned today a Freedom Fighter. I’m sure there are many people who returned today–and more in the next group–who I, too, would call palestinian freedom fighters. Others I would call cold-blooded murderers. My only point is: most of Israel is oblivious regarding the effects of our symbolism and language. I emailed with an young Egyptian man today who said he could be happy for Gilad’s parents, but not for Gilad, who was a part of the army who blows up hospitals and schools. The links he sent me to support this claim were from the Guardian and Wikipedia. The way we experience each other is a lot more the same than it is different. Thanks for taking on the point of the uniform–there’s a lot to take on, there. Also thanks for your bust-out conclusion. @David– YAWN / see my note to Jalal.

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    9. AYLA

      @Delphine–I think you just answered your own question.

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    10. AYLA

      @John–your point used to be true (or least I thought it was true), that it was more generous/true/equal-rights-inducing to refer to all Israelis as Israelis, regardless of whether they/we were Jewish or Arab, but either things have changed (I think at least in part because Israeli Arabs were/are often called exactly that, rather than simply being called Israelis–per your point, and also of course b/c of the conflict, and because they do not experience equal rights as Israeli citizens)–but in any case: most Arabs with Israeli citizenship now identify as Palestinian, or Palestinian Israelis, and do not want to be identified as Israeli. Even more new: most Bedouin feel the same. People actually feel that by calling them Israeli, Israel is using yet another tactic to erase their history / identity. (@Palestinian readers–sorry to speak for you; feel free to correct and/or rephrase).

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    11. John, that really is a fairly shallow reading, i’m sorry to say. Of course I can’t speak for 100% of 7.79 million citizens, surely there are some (jews and arabs) who do not relate in this way, but what i describe is a very prominent overall feeling about how things appear in israel and i think that’s fairly clear. Although since i have not run a survey on the question of “do you think schalit is a human being who deserves human rights like all other human beings,” let’s call this an impressionistic piece rather than data-driven. but i think the result of that question would be high and I do give the Arab citizens of Israel credit that they can view this as a human drama as well, before it reverted back into militarist nationalism; you don’t seem to do them the same justice – do you believe Arabs in israel are not capable of relating as human beings? that’s a shame. I take great pains to distinguish arab and jewish citizens of israel when data shows deep divisions. i have also written extensively railing against the kind of trends you cite, and so this comes off as quite a very knee-jerk comment.

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    12. Umm, Delphie, no. It has to do with one captive soldier being traded for 1,027 Palestinians. Hamas made the comparison. Now let it choke on it.

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    13. aristeides

      The near-universal Israeli narrative of this situation contrasts the innocent Israeli victim of abduction with the bestial Palestinian terrorists for whom he was traded. But the sight of Shalit in uniform is a reminder that, as a soldier under orders, he was as likely to commit acts of terrorism as any other member of the IDF.

      I don’t know how much blood is on his hands, if or how often he took his tank on incursions into Gaza or fired shells across the border. The fact remains – that’s what people in his position do, routinely. And the uniform makes it clear that this prisoner, too, might return to his militant activity and commit acts of terrorism against the population of Gaza.

      Not such an innocent, but a legitimate target of resistance.

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    14. David, “wrapping in the flag”? Have you bothered reading the article? Since when is opposition to militarism and co-option by the state “wrapping oneself in the flag”?

      Me, I disagree. Israel released 1,027 prisoners because we were told time and time again that he is a soldier and it is our duty, since that’s what he is, to bring about his release no matter the terms. Well, soldiers wear uniforms. This ceremony wasn’t private in any way whatsoever. I would have skipped the odious ceremony with the PM and the other spineless creature from the depths of the Defense Ministry, but wearing a uniform and saluting an officer – I can certainly understand that.

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    15. Deïr Yassin

      “Please think about Gilad Shalit on your way to the ballot box”

      Why on earth should any Palestinian think about Gilad Shalit while voting ?

      I’ll think about the thousands of Palestinian and Arab civilians who have been killed by Israeli soldiers who might as well have been Shalit. I’ll think about Bassem Abu Rahmeh, Abir Aramin, Iman al-Hams, Islam Quraiqe …..
      I’ll think about the land grabbing, the water stealing, the settler thugs making life a hell for the Palestinians, I’ll think about the institutionalized discrimination of the Israeli Palestinians, and about the fact that this has been endorsed by the Israelis who democratically choose fascists to represent them.
      “Shalit, once a captive is now a soldier [in an army of occupation responsible of war crimes] again”.
      I’ll think about THAT when I vote.

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    16. I’m a little confused about the Hamas comment. Was Hamas not thinking very much of the Palestinians they wanted free when they wanted many of them free? If all (~5000) Palestinian prisoners were exchanged for all Israeli prisoners (1), would you say that Hamas thinks even less of the prisoners than they do now, when they are worth 1000:1?

      In actuality, spare your rage for the occupation which is imprisoning Palestinians arbitrarily – stealing fathers and children in the middle of the night away from their families.

      Furthermore, I think pretty much anybody who knows the Palestinian experience gets tired of the stories about Gilad Schalit. 1,028 prisoners were released, and he is ONE of them. And they, and the thousands of Palestinians still behind bars, ALL have their own stories. They all have parents, many have children. Some haven’t been able to see their children grow up.

      And some waited to see their lovers. And will have to wait longer. How long?

      One woman waits for her husband: http://palestinefrommyeyes.blogspot.com/2011/10/hope-fades-for-salamas-wife.html

      Another waits for her son: http://palestinefrommyeyes.blogspot.com/2011/10/mothers-story-oma-fares.html

      And what about the fathers who saw their daughters anew, as they were released?

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    17. Ben Israel

      You’ve all missed the point-
      The message is NOT that “one Israeli is worth 1000 Palestinians”, it is
      that the government is quite prepared to endanger the security of the entire state and have hundreds of its citizens MURDERED just so the Prime Minister can bask in a few minutes of adulation by the post-Zionist media.

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    18. Israeli Jew

      Dahlia- how sad for you, that in your attempt at expressing the complexity of your feelings at this deeply joyous moment of relief, there is barely anyone in your camp to appreciate even the basic humanity of the moment. I hope you and other leftists can learn from this an important lesson about who is really going to be there for you when the chips are down. Jalal and Deir Yassin are using you. Stop letting them.

      Matt- if you watched even one minute of footage from yesterday’s news, you will see that Shalit’s condition bears absolutely no relation to the 1,027 Palestinian prisoners who were released. Shalit- pale, gaunt, hunched over, grabbed and pushed by his Hamas handlers. Palestinians- tanned, slightly overweight, looking like they just left a country club.

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    19. FreeThinker

      It’s absurd to say that 1 Israeli is worth 1000 Palestinians.

      1 Israeli is worth at least 10,000 Palestinians, maybe even 25,000. Probably even more if you think about how much Palestinians have contributed to human civilization (besides new ways to kill civilians and the occasional soldier)

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    20. I can only hope that the players, Shalit and the released Palestinians, escape all of our deep analyses of what they have been and so must become. This release provides an escape point for us all; but only the released can help us get there. We can at least try to hear them, if they choose to speak.
      Nationalism will be with us for some time to come. If you want a way out, look to the law, force the law, to make you something else. You will never win that race total, but perhaps you can avoid losing it–for now, the only now that is.

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    21. Asus Red

      The point is that Hamas wanted 1027 prisoners. Not one or two Head Guys. 1027. Over 400 who were convicted for acts of Terrorism including accessory to the crime, planning as well as bomb making and conspiracy to commit murder etc etc. Now it is certainly possible the other 600 odd detainees may have been in for domestic crime. The point is, in any 1st world nation with a functional Government, you don’t just end up in Prison without having planned or done something wrong first.

      Furthermore, the Prisoners received visits by the Red Cross and other International humanitarian organizations to regularly check on their well being. This is aside from the 3 meals a day, social interaction with friends, education, and even Cigarettes that they are provided by the State of Israel.

      Gilad Schalit was never visited by the Red Cross. or any Organization except for Hamas who kept him in the dark for 5 years.

      I can assure you that the Prisoners in Guantanamo Bay and Abu Gharib don’t even get half the niceties the ones in Israel get. And nearly 90% were simply picked up for being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

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    22. AYLA

      well, I’d wanted to let @Greg Pollack have the last, beautiful word. But since that’s already not the way this story ends, I’ll share this: I just ran into a friend from Ramallah, who was in Ramallah yesterday. She said the whole experience was simply beautiful, heartening, hope-making, and joyous–she said it was pure and collective love. Everyone was happy for everyone, and had only good feelings for everyone involved. Although she said her emotion was for the prisoners, she said that everyone was happy he was released and back with his family. She told me about a woman she met who was 24, who was waiting to meet her father who went to prison when she was one week old. Upon her telling of this, we both cried. While we were talking, another friend from East Jerusalem walked by. His disposition is generally angry at Israel, yet he, too, said he felt the overall, collective joy of yesterday, and we all talked about how everyone was happy for the same reason at the same time. His brother is in prison, and when asked if he was getting out, he sounded almost appalled by the idea, saying, NO of course not; he’s due to get out in only two years; that would be a waste of a person on the list! In other words, he is united in the collective cause, and would prefer to see someone else’s brother released if that person had a long sentence than to see his own brother released, even though his brother was in prison when their father died this past summer. I asked if either of them sensed any feeling of wanting to abduct more Gilad’s to get more people out, and they both said, No. They said yesterday made everyone hopeful that the leaders can work together and that more prisoners will get out soon, through legal channels. Finally, I asked my friend from Ramallah something I’ve never asked her, which is how people back home feel about her having Israeli friends. She said, oh, they don’t care; they trust that if they’re my friend, they’re a good person. She added only that there is some fear, “of course”, that someone may do something to hurt her, but that’s all. So, sounds like how the average Israeli would feel, if their family member or friend were living in Ramallah (if this were legal). Once again: we’re all the same. She reminded me that arabs and jews have been living side by side, working together, for 60+ years through this conflict, especially before 2002 (intifada). I really do find, over and over, that the people who don’t understand that are people who did not grow up here. (which I did not, as most of you know–not trying to suggest otherwise). Here’s to the hope and goodwill that people felt all throughout this land, yesterday. If people weren’t out on the streets in the West Bank or Gaza, they were glued to their televisions. In the afternoon, I was helping a Bedouin friend work a shuk for Israeli tourists traveling through the Negev during the holiday week that is usually so traveled. The event was planned long ago. Sadly, there was no one there, except the Vendors, who, too, were glued to their radios. “Gilad”, they said, smiling and throwing up their hands. “We cannot compete with this.”

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    23. @Greg, thanks as always for such a thoughtful comment.

      @Freethinker, your comment is gratuitous racism, making you part of the problem of this region and this world.

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    24. And Ayla, that is a very nice description you posted. In general, we prefer comments not to exceed 150, but it’s a special occasion and in this case, it was worth it.

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    25. Richard Witty

      I very much appreciated Dahlia’s post.

      It indicated to me that her politics were the politics born of caring, not so much of consistency to an ideology.

      Her cart relative to her horse, is placed the same as what I aspire to. Compassion driving a sense of social justice.

      So much politics is about “which side are you on”. Instead a breath of fresh air.

      It reminded me of a Bradley Burston post, “Jews are people too.”

      It is big tent justice, that makes peace possible (in whatever milestone and permanent form).

      Reply to Comment
    26. AYLA

      (I just posted this on Roee’s blogpost,and want to share it here, too): Sorry, all, that I’ve taken on such a teacherly tone lately–it’s not my place. I learn so much from many commenters here. I just so, so badly yearn for us all to stop playing tragedy-ping pong, and to see ourselves in each other. There has to be a way us all to share what we want to share without disregarding each other. there has to be a way for us to first listen. and ideally, to all get to a point where we can see the interconnectedness of all of our lives, not as abusers-victims, but as warriors for a higher level of consciousness, wherever we are. I’m going to play a less active (and verbose) roll commenting, now.


      @Greg Pollock–I’ve tried to find you off this blog, to be on mailing lists for whatever work you do. I think I found your website. If you feel comfortable sending me a message via facebook (Ayla Peggy Adler) so I can contact you, I’d appreciate it. In admiration and gratitude.

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    27. A

      @IsraeliJew HAHA! You must’ve forgotten that the Palestinian political prisoners are “tanned” because they are indigenous to this region, whereas the Pale Shalit is of European ancestry. Truly amazing.

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    28. Deïr Yassin

      Our “Israeli Jew” mentions that the Palestinian prisoners were slightly overweight whereas Shalit was pale and thin. Well, Shalit was held in Gaza and thus living with the same restrictions as the rest of the population there, i.e much of his food has come through the tunnels.
      Apparently, he hasn’t seen the light of day for more than five years, but everyone who has actually been to Gaza knows that Israeli drones with camera-surveillance are overflying the area, and they certainly have been looking very hard to find any signs of Shalit.
      That he survived Operation Cast Lead is already a good thing !

      I thus think the deplorable conditions of Shalit’s imprisonment is primarily an Israeli responsability.
      And if you’d seen photos of Dirar Abu Sisi after only a few months of Israeli imprisonment and torture, Shalit looks just fine in comparison.

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    29. Sam

      Dahlia wrote: ” i think the result of that question would be high and I do give the Arab citizens of Israel credit that they can view this as a human drama as well”

      No. I was not moved to see this soldier liberated (not even before putting on a uniform). And I’m sure most of us did not either.
      You said it yourself – there’s been a huge international campaign to paint him as a mere civilian, rather than a soldier and a prisoner of war, and it seemed to have worked. On you. Not on us, though.

      Also: “do you believe Arabs in israel are not capable of relating as human beings?”

      Wow, thanks for calling us animals, heartwarming…

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    30. Sam, actually what you wrote is how I read John’s comment, which is why I was so offended by it. Why are you directing that at me and not at him? You have made your feelings clear and that’s fine. But his comment made it sound like it is an impossibility that a Palestinian/Arab citizen would relate to shalit as a human being. We’ve heard about Ayla’s friend from ramallah: “Although she said her emotion was for the prisoners, she said that everyone was happy he was released and back with his family.” All people are free to relate or not to relate as they choose, whoever they are, arab, jew, isr or pal, which is my argument in this thread. therefore i think your comment is pretty out of line. further, you’re barking up the wrong tree – I’ve spent so much of my professional life and writing trying to transmit what Palestinian/arab israelis think – not my guesswork, but through public opinion data/research whenever I can find it, because it enrages me that this is always neglected in public debate here. On 972 we’re always looking for more Pal/Arb israelis to write. You’re more than invited to submit something for publication – beyond accusing me of “calling us animals” which is so thoughtless that it just detracts from your rather interesting initial ideas. Please reread and reconsider – it sounds like we cd have some constructive dialogue if you are genuinely open to it.

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    31. Hebron Massacre 1929

      Comment deleted for offensive content

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    32. Abu Gurnisht

      I understand you very well, DEÏR YASSIN. You have all reasons to morn for your heroes who sacrificed themselves by terror actions against your Zionist enemy and still survived. I also understand your rejection of Israel’s demand to recognize the right of the Jews to have their own national state next to the national Palestinian state. I’m very much aware and favor your demand to free all Palestine and I can understand your motives of your great national history for some millennia. But I can’t understand my demand to have my national state at the same conditions as you put upon yourself. Why can’t I fight back your terrorists? Why you let your terrorists to kill Israeli babies in purpose yet deny my troops to kill Arab babies by mistake? If you want to play politics set the same rules to both sides.

      Secondly, if shalit really lived “with the same restrictions as the rest of the population there” how comes that all the Gazans are dark skin and quite fat? I think that are too much tend to play with the typical Hamas propaganda although Israel let all the needs of the Gazans to comply.

      Why can’t the Hamas put Gilad Shalit in some jail as Arab terrorists put in Israel? In that sense I can say that the excellence conditions of Arab terrorists in Israeli jails in an Israeli responsibility too.

      Reply to Comment
    33. AYLA

      You know what, Dahlia? A lot of people are serial long commenters on this site, often with relentless, polemic encyclopedias of information, and I’ve never seen anyone called out on it. With the exception of a comment I made once about modern dance (a short comment), I make all of my comments here with a purpose higher than myself. Often, dialogues I’ve joined have broken, if just for a moment, from the recording, thanks to all involved, and those moments have given me hope for this part of the world; for the whole world. I won’t comment on your posts in the future. Though, I will continue to appreciate them.

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    34. Ayla, sorry, it seems I’ve offended you. Actually I was just trying to be fair to the many other people I have frequently asked to respect our comments policy – I do it for nearly every long comment, including when it’s my own cousin who writes in. As I mentioned, your comments here have been very rich and contributed so much, that I had no thought of editing them. I did, however, think of those who have been told repeatedly by me that their comments were too long and that they might decide I was biased in favor of comments i like. It was in this spirit of fairness that I wanted to convey that even when you write things I celebrate, it’s only fair to the ones who write things I don’t agree with to remind everyone of the general goal. Wish you wouldn’t take it so hard – will be sorry to lose your contributions. by the way, it sounds like you have some interesting insights and you’re more than welcome to write up your thoughts in the form of a guest post and submit it to our op ed address.

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    35. AYLA

      Dahlia, Okay, it seems I misunderstood you. Thanks.

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    36. AYLA

      p.s. @Greg Pollock’s brevity is one of the many aspects I admire about his comments. He seems to meditate a lot. To read him is often like reading a Haiku. What to do; I’m bent toward another genre, even after I meditate :).

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    37. Deïr Yassin

      @ Abu Hasbara
      Where do you see that I ‘morn [sic] my heroes who sacrificed themselves blahblahblah’ ?
      In fact your mantra of right-wing Hasbara has nothing to do with anything I wrote here.
      “How come that all Gazans are dark skin [sic] and quite fat ?”
      How come you know s… about Gaza ? And how come you appear extremely dumb after only one comment ?

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    38. AYLA

      from Ha’aretz: “Noam Shalit said that although his son is doing reasonably well under the circumstances, he is not yet ready to be interviewed by the media. ‘Let’s not forget that Gilad is still an IDF soldier and must adhere to the policies of the IDF Spokesperson’s Office,’ he said.”

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    39. Mitchell Cohen

      I reckon that Gilad Shalit is “still an IDF soldier” in the sense that he still hasn’t officially been released from Bakum and still has to see IDF doctors (rather than civilian one) to deal with his medical needs, as his medical needs are a direct result of his IDF service. Other than that, I STRONGLY doubt the country expects him to serve in the capacity of a soldier for a LONG time to come. It would be ridiculous for them to!!!!

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    40. AYLA

      @Mitchell–what i read there is that they control what he can share with the media.

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    41. Mitchell Cohen

      Ayla, that might very well be true too. What I meant is that Shalit won’t be strapping an M-16, shachpatz, and casda on or climbing into a tank for a long time to come….At least I would hope not!!!!

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