In Ha'aretz, a plea from Bradley Burston for prisoner exchange:
Free the monster Samir Kuntar - Haaretz - Israel News: Samir Kuntar is a monster. He may never have deserved a life.
It's time we let him out of prison.
Not for his sake. For ours.
We owe it to their families to get them back. We owe it to their brothers in arms, as well, to do everything it takes to get them back. Soldiers and their families have to know that their leaders will risk their very political careers, if need be, to pay the price to get them back.
The price will be awful. The price to families will be awful. In the case of Gilad Shalit, kidnapped on June 25, the price may be 1,000 or more Palestinian prisoners, some guilty of having tried to murder Israelis, some perhaps guilty of having succeeded. The families of Israeli victims of terrorism will fall victim to a new phase of torture.
I won't comment on Burston's particular attitude towards the conflict. I'm willing to believe that Kuntar is guilty of all that the article accuses him of doing, and, if so, I'm willing to call him a monster as well, not that it does anything.
But an observation that is missing from this is how such situations so easily generate petty monsters.
I don't entirely believe Burston when he says,
In the West, allegiance to the concept of the nation is the bedrock on which society is built. But for Israelis, for Palestinians, and for Lebanese as well - even for the nouveau hippies among them , the family is the cornerstone of society. It is the strength and primary allegiance of all segments of the population, to an extent that cannot be comprehended in the West.
Anchor of the young and buoy of the old, the family is the primary forge of political orientation. The family itself is the court of public opinion.
in that I don't really believe that there are parts of the world in which family relationships aren't the primary relationships people have. The politics of Western countries, examined sufficiently closely, suggest that the opposite is true.
In fact, it may even be precisely this reason why petty monsters are so easy to come by in conflicts like these.