To the roaring cheers of the local media, on Sunday the Schalit family embarked on a cross-country march to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's residence. They set out two days after the fourth anniversary of IDF Sgt. Gilad Schalit's captivity.
Outside their home in the North on Sunday, Gilad's father Noam Schalit pledged not to return home without his son. The Schalit family intends to camp out outside of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's home until the government reunites them with Gilad.
For weeks the local media - and especially Ma'ariv and Yediot Ahronot - have portrayed the Schalit family's trek to Netanyahu as a reenactment of Moses' journey to Pharaoh. Like Pharaoh, the media insinuates that Netanyahu is evil because he refuses to free Gilad from bondage.
The only drawback to this dramatic, newspaper-selling story is that it is wrong. Gilad Schalit is not a hostage in Jerusalem. He is a hostage in Gaza. His captor is not Netanyahu. His captor is Hamas.
And because the story is wrong, the media-organized cavalcade of ten thousand well intentioned Israelis is moving in the wrong direction. And not only is it going in the wrong direction, it is doing so at Gilad Schalit's expense.
The truth that Yediot and Ma'ariv's marketing departments ignore is that Schalit's continued captivity is a function of Hamas's growing strength. To bring him home, Israel shouldn't release a thousand terrorists from prison. It shouldn't strengthen Hamas.
To bring Gilad Schalit home a free man, Israel must weaken Hamas. And this is an eminently achievable goal. Gilad's father Noam knows it is an achievable goal. That is why last week Noam Schalit was the most outspoken critic of Netanyahu's decision to abandon Israel's economic sanctions against Hamas-controlled Gaza. That is why over the past four years the Schalit family has staged countless protests against Israel's massive and continuous assistance to Hamas-controlled Gaza.
If anything positive is to come from this march, then when the Schalit family arrives in Jerusalem they should abandon the newspapers' demand that Israel surrender to all of Hamas's demands. They should acknowledge that doing so will only guarantee that more Israelis will be kidnapped and murdered by Hamas and its allies.
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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