Hagai Aharon (YNetnews)
The situation concerning this soldier is very complex -- the IDF wants to immediately go into Gaza, if not for just sending a strong message to the PA that terror will not be tolerated. The political establishment is holding the IDF back (as they have been for the past 10 months from the Disengagement), hoping for a political solution. Frankly, if Israel had responded forcefully after the first Qassam rocket attack after the Disengagement, (as was promised by Sharon) I doubt we would be in this situation to begin with.
Fatah (remember them, the "moderates" everyone was very worried after they lost the PA election to Hamas?) has now threatened that if the IDF starts a serious ground assault in Gaza, they will use chemical and biological weapons against IDF troops.
"With the help of Allah, we are pleased to say that we succeeded in developing over 20 different types of biological and chemical weapons, this after a three-year effort," the group said in a leaflet it has distributed. "We say to (Prime Minister Ehud) Olmert and (Defense Minister Amir) Peretz: Your threats of invasion do not frighten us. We will surprise you with new weapons you have not faced until now. As soon as an IDF soldier sets foot on Gazan land, we will respond with a new weapon."
The cabinet issued a message following the meeting saying, "Israel sees in the event Sunday morning at Kerem Shalom a most severe incident. The responsibility is on the Palestinians, on Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh, the government and the PA. Israel will take all the necessary steps to return the captured soldier Corporal Gilad Shalit to his home. The cabinet approved the military ranks to carry out the necessary preparations to accomplish this mission."
So many memories came flooding back to me last night; the tehillim we said was the same perek we used to recite daily in Yeshivat Hesder on behalf of IDF soldiers captured in Lebanon. I recalled the awful week 10 years ago when IDF soldier Nachshon Wachsman was kidnapped, and the entire Jewish world held their breathes, lit an extra candle for him on Erev Shabbat, and said tehillim around the world for him. And there was IDF soldier Madhat Youssef who was assigned to defend Kever Yosef, and the IDF decided to rely on the PA for his safe extraction. He died from loss of blood because the politicians didn't send in the IDF.
There's a drawing of the Entebbe Mission that sums it up for me -- a victorious IDF Airforce Hercules transport plane heading back from Entebbe towards Israel.
IDF Soldier, Gilad ben Aviva -- we're hoping to see you back home safely, soon.
Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael