A balance of delusion exists in Israeli politics between Left and Right. On the Left, we have leaders who, when given the facts about strategic options, decide they don't like the facts and make new ones up that suit them better. And on the Right, we have leaders who, when given the facts about their political options, decide they don't like the facts and make up new ones that suit them better.
The Left's latest fantasy is its enthusiasm for a deal with Hamas that would free Gilad Schalit. By Tuesday night, Israelis should know whether or not our outgoing leftist government will agree to release between 450 and 1,000 Palestinian terrorists - including mass murderers serving multiple life sentences - in exchange for Schalit whom Hamas and it sister terror groups have held hostage since June 2006.
Schalit's plight presents two stark choices. We can surrender to all of Hamas's demands and reunite Schalit with his suffering family, or we can keep a stiff upper lip, refuse to negotiate with terrorists and wait until we receive actionable intelligence on his whereabouts and attempt to rescue him. We know what will happen in both cases.
If we surrender to Hamas's demands, we will ensure more families will suffer the same plight as Gilad Schalit's family. We know that this will happen because we have been through this process repeatedly. Every single time we have released terrorists for hostages, the result has been more murdered Israelis and more hostages. As before, the only thing we still don't know is the names of the next victims. They could be any of us. And so, in a very real sense, they are all of us.
If on the other hand the outgoing government opted for the stiff upper lip approach, we know that we would increase the chance that Schalit will be murdered. Hamas can kill him at any time. And in the event that the IDF stages a rescue raid, there is a good chance that both Schalit and his rescuers will return to their families in wooden boxes. Then again, we also know that by not negotiating with terrorists, and by keeping jailed terrorists in prison, we stand a better chance of protecting the lives of the rest of us.
Both choices, of course, are miserable ones. But they are the only choices. We can surrender or we can fight. There is no third option.
Caroline B. Glick is the senior Middle East fellow at the Center for Security Policy in Washington, D.C., and the deputy managing editor of The Jerusalem Post, where this article first appeared.
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