On the subject of the Gilad Shalit prisoner exchange, I can’t put it any better than blogger Emily Hauser, who has written a number of eloquent posts on this subject over the years. Click here and here to read her latest reactions.
Also highly recommended: this recent op-ed by journalist Rachel Shabi:
But meanwhile, the terms of the Israel-Hamas brokered prisoner swap – one Israeli, whose name the world knows, for 1027 faceless Palestinians – has generated some absurd comments on the value each side places on human life. In reports of how much Israelis care about the soldier Shalit – all true – there is somehow the inference that Palestinians don’t cherish their loved ones in the same way. But it is clearly more approachable a task to keep one soldier’s name in people’s hearts and in the headlines, than it is with countless thousands of Palestinian men. And the undertaking is smoothed by a media skew on the subject: taking part in a panel discussion on reporting the conflict last year, I heard a European journalist explain that Shalit was an easier pitch because he seemed innocent and blameless, while Palestinian prisoners didn’t generate the same assumptions. Meanwhile, the cold exchange rate of a thousand prisoners to one Israeli obviously doesn’t mean that Palestinians morally agree with this equation; it just points to the brutal asymmetry of forces and capacity in this struggle.
There is, however, one setting in which the two sides stand on level ground. When the prisoner deal was announced this week, there were jarringly rare images of both Israelis and Gaza strip Palestinians joyously celebrating the same news story. There it was, in that moment: an equality borne of shared humanity.