18 October 2011

A mockery of justice, but a moral success

Writing On the Square, Alex Ozar has a powerful reflection on the coming release of 1,000 Palestinians to secure the release of 1 Israeli soldier.

First he provides a quick backstory to the situation:
Over five years ago, on the morning of June 25, 2006, several Palestinian militants infiltrated an Israeli army base on the Gaza strip border, killing two, wounding three, and abducting 20-year-old corporal Gilad Shalit. Since that day he has been held in captivity in unknown conditions, deprived even of access to the Red Cross and contact to his family-basic rights due to prisoners of war under the Geneva Convention. A bleak situation, to say the least.
The compromise that has been reached is, he says, "not without its downside":
To be sure, the news was not without its downside. To free Shalit, the Israeli government had to agree to the release of over 1,000 prisoners, not a few of which are convicted terrorists with innocent Israeli blood on their hands. Setting loose so many proven murderers poses an obvious danger, and though I trust the Israeli security community-unfortunately driven, by painful necessity, to proven excellence-to handle the situation with competence, ensuring that the prisoners released will not pose any direct threat to life, the risks involved surely cannot be disregarded as entirely negligible. It is a blow to all those who suffered at these mens hands, who deserve to see justice done. Politically, the deal will embolden Hamas, tilting the scales of Palestinian opinion away from moderation and charting a course further down the road of fanaticism and violence. The deal rewards terror, and in trading 1,000 criminals for a single innocent man, concedes success to a cynically twisted, warped moral position.

But after all has been said and all arguments heard, the editorials written and the debates run their course, there really is no question here: When it comes to the value and dignity of even a single human life, there can be no calculations of utility, no negotiation of practicalities. Whatever the pros and cons, they cannot hold water against the infinite worth of a person and the sacred regard owed to it by us all. And thats to say nothing of the loyalty due Shalit as a soldier, citizen, son and brother.
After considering the circumstances, he concludes:
That hundreds of terrorists must be released to save a single person is a moral travesty and a mockery of justice, but it is also a profound moral success, a resounding victory for life, goodness, and our assuredness in the incalculable value of a human person.
Be sure to read the rest.

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