On air: Should countries do whatever it takes to bring hostages home?

Today Israel buries two of its soldiers whose remains were returned from Lebanon by the militant Hezbollah movement, as part of a prisoner exchange. Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser are believed to have died when they were ambushed in 2006. The incident sparked a month-long war between Israel and Hezbollah. In exchange for the return of their bodies, Israel has released five Lebanese prisoners and the remains of 200 Lebanese and Palestinian fighters. This has been the reaction in Israel.

Meanwhile it has emerged that a Red Cross symbol was worn by a member of the military rescue mission that freed 15 hostages, including Ingrid Betancourt, from Farc rebels in Colombia. The misuse of the Red Cross emblem is considered a violation of the Geneva Conventions and international law. Colombia’s President has apologised.

Just two examples of countries going to great lengths to bring their citizens home, but were they right? Did Israel do the greatest service to its country, or let down its people by appearing weak?

Was the Colombian government reckless in using the Red Cross emblem, putting all future aid workers at risk? Or should a country do absolutely anything to secure the release of its people?

Last summer the owners of a Danish cargo ship seized by Somali pirates paid a ransom to secure its return. The Danish government said it was disappointed, but understood why the Danica White’s owners had paid for the release of the ship and its five crew.

Should ransom’s been paid, or does that simply fuel the trade in hostage taking? Where is the line?

112 Responses to “On air: Should countries do whatever it takes to bring hostages home?”

  1. 1 Brett
    July 17, 2008 at 14:37

    It’s like those questions posed in my PSYCH 101 course back in the day…

    “If you saw a child standing on train tracks unable to move and a train was comming straight for them and would surely kill them and your only option was to do nothing or re-route the train to a track with 10 adults on it, surely to be killed if the train takes that route. What do you do?”

    Do you start a war with the potential to kill hundreds, thousands, hundreds of thousands, millions? All over a few people? Is it over principle or the people themselves?

    I do believe that countries should act responsibly weighing the balance of the outcomes with their decision… “Whatever it takes” implies rash or drastic [unbalanced] measures.

    Brett ~ Richmond, Va.

  2. 2 Robert Evans
    July 17, 2008 at 14:45

    Frankly Isreal should have executed the 5 prisioners as there two soldiers where already dead and then the Lebonese would not have been partying yesterday. I feel that was rather disrespectful. Although the group who captured the soldiers are currently classified by everyone as terrorists.

  3. 3 Count Iblis
    July 17, 2008 at 14:48

    It depends on the nature of the conflict. In case of the conflict between Hezbollah and Israel, the hostages and prisoners are part of a wider conflict. Also, note that hostages are taken by both sides in this conflict, see e.g. here:

    On 28 July 1989, Israeli commandos kidnapped Sheikh Abdul Karim Obeid, the leader of the Hizballah in Lebanon. He was taken from his home in southern Lebanon to Israel. Obeid was held responsible, among other activities, for the kidnapping of an American Marines Colonel William R. Higgins in February 1988. Israel had hoped to use the sheikh as a card to affect an exchange of prisoners and hostages in return for all Shi’ites held by it. President Bush expressed his reservations over the Israeli action. The Security Council met, and without mentioning names, unanimously adopted a resolution calling for the “immediate safe release of all hostages and abducted persons, wherever and by whomever they are being held.

    Israel did the right thing by exchanging the prisoners and the bodies, because the issue here is to find a way to end the conflict.

  4. 4 steve
    July 17, 2008 at 14:48

    @ Robert

    This entire ordeal has shown Israel to be the moral superior, though it was a bad deal. Hezbollah celebrates a child killer with a hero’s welcome. Actually though stated a “small minority” there are LOTs of people who think Hezbollah are freedom fighters. I am curious though, if people keep on saying that only a tiny minority of muslims are militants, why is it that if there were free and fair elections in most arab nations, islamists would easily be voted into power? Islamists that would be anti West, wouldn’t honor treaty obligations with Israel, and would sponsor terrorism.

  5. 5 steve
    July 17, 2008 at 14:50

    @ BBC

    Perhaps you should change the subject title? The Israelis weren’t “hostages”, they were dead. When Israelis are taken prisoner or held hostage, they very rarely survive. It would take some form of miracle for Gilad Shalit to actually be alive, if he is, and he is returned, it would be the first time a Jew was ever returned alive by Islamists.

  6. 6 Melanie Chassen
    July 17, 2008 at 14:51

    Wow, in regards to the red cross issue, what a question! I read the article provided by the link above and a few things came to mind:

    Firstly, I find it fascinating that a symbol can have such a universal meaning across the world, and that it can command such respect. In some ways, this is similar to the point that Shaun in Halifax was trying to make yesterday about the Canadian flag (I think).

    In this instance, where the Red Cross symbol was used by intelligence officers and everything worked out (the hostages were freed and the intelligence officers did not conduct themselves in a way that would put an absolute threat to the Red Cross organization) it almost seems like Colombia is getting a slap on the wrist. Perhaps it is in my own ignorance that I say this, but if something had gone horribly wrong during that rescue mission, the repercussions for Colombia and the Red Cross would probably be much more severe.

    But to address the question, where should the line be drawn regarding saving one’s own people? What drives countries to go against sanction to do all in their power? It is patriotism? Is it principles? Is it morality and the social constructs that make up society? Is it value of human life over all else?

    But is this “whatever it takes” attitude as Brett mentioned utilitarian as I believe it should be? I recognize my own bias from living in Canada with our government structure being what it is. That being said, how does everyone feel about making decisions that achieve “the greatest good for the greatest number”? Does that even apply here?

  7. July 17, 2008 at 14:53

    Hi Chloe
    Akbar here in Tehran
    Give Israel a Break
    What Israel did for Hezbollah was brave and generous. Tel Aviv must get something out of this. The prisoner swap, although it secured the demise of two Israeli soldiers against 192 remains of Hezbollah fighters, plus five prominent, live combatants, hails a new era for Israel.
    The London injunction which outlaws the militant wing of Hezbollah must take effect immediately. Fair is fair. Israel has shown courage and resolve in eliminating causes of friction and there is no reason to fight any longer.

  8. 8 Rosebill
    July 17, 2008 at 14:55

    Yes countries should do whatever it takes to bring hostages home – we vote and put the “decision makers” in power to take care of us!! I guess everyone should ask themselves what if that was my brother, father, mother, sister – a loved one, wouldnt you want them back with you? Hopefully alive but even if they were unfortunatley to die while in captivity, i would want to be able to visit my loved one’s grave.

    saying if you pay ransom then you’ll be fueling more hostage taking is the same as saying teaching teenagers about sex will make them want to have sex!

    Every action has a consequence – we always hope though that the good overrides the bad.

  9. 9 steve
    July 17, 2008 at 14:59

    The answer is that you do what you have to do to get hostages back. Back in 1976, when Red Army Faction and Palestinian terrorists hijacked an Air France flight, keeping only the Jews as hostage (they released non Jews/Israelis) and took it to Entebbe, Uganda. The IDF mounted a raid, bringing a Mercedes Benz to look like Idi Amin’s car, and IDF soldiers dressed up in Uganadan military uniforms, and used AK-47s, so they could have a cover during the nighttime mission. I can only imagine the left of today whining and complaining that the Israelis fought out of uniform. It seems the leftist whiners would prefer hostages to get killed than be rescued if the rules aren’t followed (though of course dont’ seem to complain about the hostage takers breaking the rules).

  10. 10 Melanie Chassen
    July 17, 2008 at 15:07

    @ Rosebill:

    Good points. I also am unconvinced that paying ransom will necessarily encourage more hostages to be taken. And I think your analogy about sex is a good one! I think the important distinction we have to make is that there is a difference between going against convention because someone is making an emotional, rash decision without thinking it through, and someone making a decision that goes against the grain despite it having been thoroughly thought out, consequences minimized, and a plan for mitigation should a problem arise. With this distinction made, I agree with you. True leaders have to make difficult choices at times, and sometimes these decisions are not favoured by other nations… now here comes another question:

    speaking of electing leaders to make good decisions and be protective of their country’s citizens, do we believe that they make good on their word? What about the biases that all of us have as human beings, founded by our own personal beliefs, values, likes and dislikes? Do you think these come into play when leaders are making decisions for the benefit of an entire nation? Should they? And if they do, is this right?

  11. July 17, 2008 at 15:21

    Hi… Isn’t it so ironic that when someone is being cruel towards you, you’d cry and whine all day “What ‘they’ did to me was totally inhumane and immoral, and I’m morally superior to them !”, while when you’re being cruel to someone, then you’re so good at anesthetising your moral conscience (supposedly it does exist !) by finding yourself justifications just like “This is war, and who cares about moralities when it comes to war ?! I gotta be as nasty as ‘they’ are, even if that’d mean me murdering lots and lots of innocent civilians and destroying the houses and lives of many others… I’ll easily blame ‘them’ for all of that… And who cares about ‘their’ innocent civilians anyway ?! After all, it’s me and my life that matter the most, and it’s my blood which is precious, not ‘theirs’ !!”?! With my love… Yours forever, Lubna…

  12. 12 Mohammed Ali
    July 17, 2008 at 15:21

    Should Countries do whatever it takes to bring hostages home? Broad question. “whatever” it takes implies thousands of things. For a example should a whole country be bombed to bring back few people because the nation’s leadership is involved in the hostage taking? Should thousands of lives be risked to free few group? Should national security be bridged or endangered to bring home hostages? And many more questions will be asked. Did the Israelis endanger their national security by freeing 5 men they considered dangerous people for 2 dead soldiers? Yes they did. Maybe the israeli leadership wanted the dead soldiers families to bury them at the expense of the security of thousand others. A member of the colombian rescue team using red cross insignia in the operation to free Betancourt and others certainly put at risk the lives of relief workers not only in colombia but all over the world. In any case, Betancourt and others have been freed at the expense of the red cross and in violation of international laws. Should ransoms be paid to release hostages? Yes. This is certainly the least damaging way of releasing hostages, but it also encourages the taking of more. How be it, there is no easy way of freeing hostages.

  13. 13 Robert
    July 17, 2008 at 15:23

    It should be up to whomever has a duty of care to look after you must be the ones who deal with the hostage situation.

    For the soliders the duty off care obviously lays with the government, they are effectively the empolyer of the hostage and should maintain the safety (as much as can be in war)

    However a government shouldn’t HAVE to have a role in some of the cases of say a tourist getting kidnapped or somebody working for a private company. In the later it should be up to the company to look after thier own empolyees, tax payers shouldn’t be subsidesing the sercurity of private companies. If the company needs the support from a government or its backing, then fine, but some compension should be given to the government for that assistance.

    As for private individuals. If your unthinking enough to visist a dangourous place without proper protection (given that the foriegn office provides reasonable current secuirty advice) then why should your fellow country men either have to pick up the bill or risk thier lives for your stupidity?

  14. 14 Tom D Ford
    July 17, 2008 at 15:24

    “Should ransom’s been paid, or does that simply fuel the trade in hostage taking? Where is the line?”

    I suggest that the real question in here is do you value human life over property or do you value property over human life.

  15. 15 nelsoni
    July 17, 2008 at 15:28

    Israel values its soldiers dead or alive. And it has a moral responsibility to return their remains back to their homeland. The American military has this phrase ” No one is left behind”. It’s sad that Lebanon would roll out drums to celebrated a convicted killer. The Hard line of “we do not negotiate with terrorists” is slowing being faded.

  16. 16 nelsoni
    July 17, 2008 at 15:37

    @ Steve. I agree with you. The title should be changed. The Arabs never seem to keep israeli POW alive. As much as Israeli had no choice but to get their dead soldiers back there is little incentive for militants groups to keep captured soldiers alive because they know that Israel will always be willing to exchange the “dead for the living” which could also make them more daring in trying to capture Israeli soldiers. And why did hezbollah have to wait until the last moment before letting the whole world know their “captives” were dead?

  17. July 17, 2008 at 15:41

    Conceding to kidnappers’ demands for the release of hostages will just encourage them to take more of them.

    Hostage taking can be for money as it happens in many countries like Brazil or for political reasons as it happens in the Middle East, mainly in Iraq. When it comes to taking hostages just for money, it can be less controversial to concede.

    But sometimes, if not all the times, it can be very impossible to concede to kidnappers when it comes to political demands. The USA and UK were ready to “sacrifice” their hostages in Iraq that were later executed rather than withdraw from it.

    For Israel, to release Lebanese and Palestinian prisoners in return for the bodies of two killed Israeli soldiers is a matter of national pride. But beneath , it is a concession to Hezbullah’s demands to have key prisoners released. But Israel hasn’t conceded totally as the aim of Hezbullah was Israel withdrawal from Shabaa Farms. It seems Israel and Hezbullah are now the hostage of their political differences. In view of their irreconcilable approaches, neither will be released from the political stalemate they are both facing at the expenses of hundreds of deaths on both sides, as it was the case during their 2006 summer war.

  18. 18 nelsoni
    July 17, 2008 at 15:50

    When People are taken hostage, Its the responsibility of the government to secure their release. If they have a good security apparatus to effect a rescue with minimum casualities good but if not ransom or any other subtle means may be used. In the Niger Delta of Nigeria, Hostage taking has become a lucrative business thankfully no hostage has ever being killed because ransoms are always paid but all parties involved will tell you no ransom was paid.

  19. July 17, 2008 at 16:02

    The way the hostages were liberated in Colombia must have come after the exhaustion of all diplomatic efforts to free them. There were mediations mainly by France and Venezuela.

    The operation to free them was a part of the war against FARC. War is also cunning. Any means to have victory is justifiable. The use of the Red Cross symbol was just part of the series of “lies” the Colombian government used to deceive FARC.

    The Colombian government came out victorious, leaving FARC red-faced and the Red Cross embarrassed. But as long as the Red Cross wasn’t involved in any way in the Colombian government’s “trick”, it shouldn’t be blamed. After all, even rebels use fake uniforms of government soldiers to carry out their out their operations. When it’s war and everything is a matter of life of death, any clever means are acceptable.

    Just the success of the operation outdoes James Bond’s operations. His are just fiction. This operation was really real without cut and replay.

  20. 20 Omunyaruguru
    July 17, 2008 at 16:03

    “Should ransoms been paid, or does that simply fuel the trade in hostage taking? Where is the line?”

    It depends on what is at stake. For Israel, those two remains meant a lot. To me, knowing well that the soldiers were killed, I would slaughter a few more Hezbollah fighters and forget about the remains. Do I sound terorist?

    It is the people involved who can best describe the value of the exchage/ransom. The Arabs know very well what Israel values and they will always use this knowledge to their advantage.

    Wanted to say more but power has gone and my battery is running out. will hopefully come on later.

  21. 21 Edmund
    July 17, 2008 at 16:08

    You kidnap civilians, not soldiers. Lets make that point clear. There is a lot of talk about people celebrating the release of the 5 prisoners and how it is deplorable and so forth. Where is the debate on the disproportionate number of children killed by Israeli Soldiers and why are they not jailed? B’Tselem estimate somewhere between 2,220 and 3,135 Palestinian civilians were killed by Israeli’s as of May 30th 982 of those deaths were Palestinian Children.

    Where is the outcry? Israel is no moral superior

  22. 22 steve
    July 17, 2008 at 16:12

    @ Edmund

    It often amazes me that so many people don’t understand the concept of intent. Israel does kill civilians, but unintentionally. That Kunta guy smashed a 4 year old girl’s head in witha rifle butt. He INTENDED to kill her. Meanwhile israel fires into civilian areas because terrorists are attacking Israel from civilian areas, so there will be unintended casualties due to the way the terrorists fight. If you don’t want that to happen, tell the terrorists to fight like men. The fact is, Hamas needs civilians to get killed to get international sympathy. Without it, only the most mentally ill of people would support them. But when you can point to dead civilians, you can get people on the fence to condemn israel, even though it is hamas’ fighting style that leads to those deaths, as Israel, and no self respecting nation, would not retaliate. So, learn the concept of intent.

  23. 23 Mohammed Ali
    July 17, 2008 at 16:13

    July 17, 2008 at 2:48 pm

    “@ Robert

    This entire ordeal has shown Israel to be the moral superior, though it was a bad deal.”
    I really do not want to engage into this argument again. Does turning over 5 living bodies with TWO HUNDRED DEAD BODIES (200) in exchange for two dead bodies on the other end proves moral superiority?

  24. 24 steve
    July 17, 2008 at 16:15

    @ Mohammed Ali

    I wasn’t referring to the exchange being a moral superiority for Israel. I mean the hero’s welcome a child murderer got, who also threatened more violence against Israel.

  25. 25 Melanie Chassen
    July 17, 2008 at 16:18

    I could be turning this debate completely the wrong way, but what role do people think beliefs have in these kinds of conflicts. Does the fact that someone believes beyond all else that they are doing what is right and just based on their own values excuse horrible actions?

    Lame as it may be, a few lines of a song come to mind:

    “Belief is a beautiful armor, it makes for the heaviest sword, like punching underwater, you never can hit what you’re trying for.”

    The song ends with some controversial questions:
    “What puts a hundred thousand children in the sand? Belief can. What puts a folded flag inside his mothers hand? Belief can…belief can.” -JM

    Thoughts? does conviction in beliefs justify such actions (like doing anything to get citizens back on home territory)?

    Something to think about.

  26. 26 gary
    July 17, 2008 at 16:19

    Israel and Hezbollah are talking again; but using the same old are words I hate to hear: love, family, friend, common culture, duty, honor, God, shared-destiny, loyalty, patriotism, terrorism, martyrdom, enemy, genocide, victory, war. “Why on Earth?” Good question! True, many of these words name wonderful things, things worthy of preservation. The trouble is; their current definitions support division of humanity. Observe a human characteristic, cultural or national symbol, name it, and you have established the sole requirement for affection, as well as for discrimination and murder. Flag and altar justify loyalty, faith, hatred and martyrdom. Black skin and nostrils shaped just so qualify an infant’s head to be smashed with the butt of gun. Black suit and white collar identifies a child molester. Forehead pressed on a carpet facing Mecca, or yarmulke-covered pate equates to terrorist. Stars and stripes say bullying wealth allied with the power of Satan.
    I do not say I am any better. Humans are not perfect. In spite of ample language tools, our communications remain remarkably ineffective. I suggest only this: When hearing the first few of these words, try to apply them alike to all humanity, and then perhaps the last few could disappear from all languages. Just a bunch of guff? So long as we think it so, it is.

  27. 27 Vijay
    July 17, 2008 at 16:20

    You should do more shows about what is important to Brazil,Russia ,India and China(about 3 billion people).

  28. 28 Justin from Iowa
    July 17, 2008 at 16:23

    When “they” break the rules, all rules are off. Would a terrorist balk at using the red cross symbol? Dressing in a different country’s uniform?

    I think the hostage takers got off easy. The colombians should have sent in the army and killed every last one of the hostage takers after they’d gotten away with the hostages.

    Then not only would the scum no longer be around to take hostages again, but nobody would have been left to whine about using a symbol as cover to rescue people who have been taken hostage and could be killed at any time.

  29. July 17, 2008 at 16:27

    The question – interpreted broadly – has a flawed premise. Just as the policy itself does… Of course nations should NOT do whatever is necessary to get back dead or captured combatants. You don’t just live by the warrior’s code – you should be willing to die by it too. Or lets just be honest about not really meaning what it means to go to war.

    Israel isn’t the only one that does this. Among others, certain units in the american military hold this ideal very very strongly as well… I’m sure many other cultures do too.

    That doesn’t mean it makes any sense. It doesn’t. The underlying premise here is irrational. But so is the underlying premise of every religion I am aware of. What else is new?

    So is it an understandably human reaction (that politicians must therefore pay some attention too)? Yes!

    Does it make basic sense? No! But what’s that got to do with a whole lot of things people and nations do?

  30. 30 Melanie Chassen
    July 17, 2008 at 16:41

    @ mark

    What a world it would be if what “made sense” was universal among all people. You mentioned the term “human reaction”. What gives a reaction humanity? Is it emotion?

  31. 31 Nick in USA
    July 17, 2008 at 16:53

    @ Steve

    You are right, Israel has proven itself to be morally superior in this instance. Personally, I think it was a really smart move on Israel’s part. International sympathy for Israel has been waning since the last few reports from the UN have come out. Now, they have re-asserted their position as being a country that is being treated poorly by its neighbors.

    The way the Lebanese handled the situation is absolutely disgusting. Tactically, this probably wasn’t the best move, but international support is more important any day for Israel.

    Steve said:

    “It seems the leftist whiners would prefer hostages to get killed than be rescued if the rules aren’t followed (though of course dont’ seem to complain about the hostage takers breaking the rules).”

    These rules are put in place, to prevent future issues. I’m not trying to protect any terrorists. For example, not wearing the red cross badge. Imagine 1000 soldiers captured in Zimbabwe or another third world country. The people who have taken them prisoner can’t feed them or give them medical assistance. You want to send in the Red Cross, but you can’t because after being fooled once or twice, they no longer trust the badge. All 1000 die of disease or starvation. Just look at the Bhurmese situation. That is what happens when people don’t accept international aid.

    @ Melanie and Rosebill

    The Black Markets and Terrorist markets are just that…. markets. If criminals see that there is money to be made, they will go where the money is. It might not be instant, but paying ransoms will lead to more kidnappings.

  32. 32 Melanie Chassen
    July 17, 2008 at 17:08

    @ Nick in USA

    I don’t totally disagree with you. I am rather on the fence with this issue. Are you suggesting it is worth it for people to remain prisoners or face a worse fate rather than to comply to a certain extent to get them back? I am playing devil’s advocate here. What about potential important information that these people being held hostage could provide once they are returned home? Couldn’t that information (assuming there is some) be used for a greater good?

  33. 33 Nick in USA
    July 17, 2008 at 17:12

    @ Gary

    I agree entirely. We spend so much time labelling others and ourselves, and all it does is divide us. I asked my mom which option she would pick if she had to choose between saving 1 american or 2 french hostages, and she said she would choose the 1 american. I was astounded, but national pride had just been hammered into her that hard when she was growing up.

    @ Vijay

    I agree, but bring it up on the talking points pages.

    @ Justin

    I also considered the option of leaving no witnesses to the Red Cross badge, but I came to the conclusion that it was too risky. What if one person did escape? He would go tell everyone that he saw a man wearing a Red Cross badge executing his comrades. Not only would that prevent people wearing the badge from getting into camps to help people, but most of them would be shot onsite by terrorists.

  34. July 17, 2008 at 17:14

    Hi… Is there any of our Precious friends here on this page who can claim that he/she can read the minds or know the potential intentions of the Israeli government and the Israeli soldiers when they murder innocent Palestinian civilians (many of them are women and children down to the age of infancy), destroy Palestinian houses, ect., ect., ?! Is there any magic instrument available out there that’s capable of sensing their actual feelings when they commit such acts (whether joy, pleasure, anger, rage, pain, regret, fear, ect., ect.,) or telling whether they commit such acts intentionally or unintentionally ??! With my love… Yours forever, Lubna…

  35. 35 steve
    July 17, 2008 at 17:20

    @ Lubna

    Israel doesn’t “murder” innocent civilians, it unintentially kills innocent civilians because the terrorists fight from civilian areas. There is a difference, and it’s dishonest to use terms like “murder” like that. WHy don’t you worry more about your countrymen blowing up other countrymen becuase their fictional deity thinks someone else was the heir to a crazy man who claimed God (a fictional deity) spoke to him vs. another sect that claims their leader was the heir of the crazy guy who claimed God spoke to him? That’s INTENTIONAL, not what Israel does. Perhaps if Hebollah and Hamas fought like men, and not from civilian areas, ther ewould be no innocents killed. But they are coward jihadis, who run like crying babies from armed soldiers who can defend themselves, hence why they target civilians.

  36. 36 nelsoni
    July 17, 2008 at 17:31

    @ steve and lubna. Both Israelis and Palestians kill innocent civilians on both sides. I would not want to use the word murder because sometimes the circumstances of these killings are sometime questionable. So in effect Israeli and Palestians Murder innocent civilians. Its not just limited to one party.

  37. 37 Zainab
    July 17, 2008 at 17:35

    Hello all,
    Yes why not, Hostages are citizens of the country, the it’s their right to be back to their home whether alive of dead.
    I don’t think what happened yesterday was an “ordeal” it was the right thing. each must returns back to his home. But i only wondered If Israel’s aim of July 2006 war was to return the hostage why did they kept silent all that long, why did they start a war, they could only say “we want our hostage” i mean why didn’t they negotiate from the beginning, on 2006 Israel didn’t mention the hostages!!!WHY??

    And why there is always double standards in any issue that connects to Israel?? We must judge both when we say some one is terrorist, please see the other as well..
    yours truly,
    Zainab from Iraq

  38. 38 nelsoni
    July 17, 2008 at 17:35

    @ Lubna, when militants carry out suicide bombings and innocent civilians are killed what do you call that “murder” or “collateral damage”? Israel is not guilty alone. Both sides are.

  39. 39 Will Rhodes
    July 17, 2008 at 17:36

    I think, and I certainly could be wrong, what many people feel is just a matter of frustration at seeing this played out on a daily basis.

    The main question I get asked is ‘why?’. That why is all about why are they still fighting and why do they do these things when the outcome will be the same as it has been for such a long time.

    I always answer with the ‘cultural’ difference and the people who lead. One of the main things you need to begin to make inroads into stopping the capture and killing of hostages is a simple thing, education. As more people become educated you find that their moral stance will rise.

    This argument is offset with some, if not all, of the Islamic radicals who are well educated to some degree.

    So what do we do, my final part of the answer is, again, very simple. A declaration of all out war. If you want to focus a culture or country on how determined you are, and with the fire power of some nations, a declaration of all out war will bring them to the table relatively quickly once you prove that the threat is not an idle one.

    That, in turn, brings about who you allies are and theirs.

    I, like many of my age, detest those who hide behind civilians. If you want to fight a war – fight one. I also detest those who instigate war – because war is an evil man does not need.

    It has to stop somewhere and if it means bringing your people home then so be it – but more than anything this madness has to stop.

  40. 40 Count Iblis
    July 17, 2008 at 17:37

    Steve, the difference between Israel and the so-called “terrorists” isn’t that big at all. After all, Israel illegally keeps the West Bank occupied. So, arguably, all the Palestinians who live there are, sort of, “hostages”. And the you have argued yourself that everything is allowed in order to “liberate the hostages”, including means that violate international law, the Geneva conventions etc.

    So, the fundamental problem underlying the Israeli/Palestinian conflict is that the West demands that one side (the Palestinians) should stick to international law, while the other side is allowed to violate it (Israel when they illegaly keep the West Bank occupied, build on occupied territories etc. etc.)

  41. 41 steve
    July 17, 2008 at 17:41

    @ Count Iblis

    Funny to see you defend terrorism. israel won the territories in a war it didn’t start. It TOOK the territories from Egypt and Jordan, who didn’t seem to care to give their “arab brothers” independence. The lesson for the arabs to learn is to NOT attack Israel. Becuase they will lose, and have thier butts handed to them on a plate. The Palestinians didn’t resort to terrorism, they BEGAN with terrorism, then RESORTED to negotiations after they finally accepted they cannot destroy Israel on the battlefield. But if it’s easier for you to blame israel for everything, go ahead.

  42. 42 nelsoni
    July 17, 2008 at 17:42

    @ steve. I totally agree it you. If hamas and the other militant groups have well defined combat zones out side civilian areas, civilian casualties will be at their barest minimum. So what do you expect when militants mix among women and children and shoot from people’s sitting rooms? Israel is however responsible for the death of several journalists. in the region. These people had proper identifying marks “PRESS” boldly written on their vests and vehicles, yet Israeli soldiers still shelled the cars and shot @ them. They have questions to answer about the death of these journalists.

  43. 43 Melanie Chassen
    July 17, 2008 at 17:43

    @ Will,

    I just wanted to thank you for your comment. It was very insightful, and I wholeheartedly agree. You make your points well and they are all excellently written. As a result, they are a pleasure to read. Thank you for that.

  44. 44 steve
    July 17, 2008 at 17:49

    @ nelsoni

    Yes, Israel has made some pretty bad blunders, nobody is denying that. Some time ago, I believe a British journalist was killed by an Israeli soldier, and the Press wanted the soldier’s head until they found out the soldier was an Israeli Arab, then it kind of got swept under the carpet. Israel refused to give the soldier up for any trial in Britain or wherever it was supposed to be. I believe he was found negligent and convicted.

  45. 45 nelsoni
    July 17, 2008 at 17:50

    @ Zainab. As a student of international relations and diplomacy, i can boldly tell you and the whole world that “DOUBLE STANDARDs”exist not just in matters that have to do with Israel but with the whole International System. I can write a 300 plus page thesis on that. Real life scenarios exists in every facet of the International system

  46. 46 Nick in USA
    July 17, 2008 at 17:53

    @ Count and Lubna

    The difference between Israel and terrorists is huge. Don’t try to downplay all the things that Israel does due to international demand. The reason that Israeli soldiers end up accidently killing civilians is because the terrorists are hiding among the civilians and it is often impossible to tell the difference. Terrorists intentionally kill civilians. That is a huge difference.

  47. 47 Thea Winter - Indianapolis IN, USA
    July 17, 2008 at 17:57

    As we saw yesterday doing “Whatever it takes” is different for every country. Trading hostages for the dead is NOT what was expected. If those solders died in captivity the correct thing to do was to notify the country and families. But that was not done. We are in a different world today where humanity is not the rule. How sad is that!
    The short and long answer is NO!

  48. 48 Luz Ma from Mexico
    July 17, 2008 at 18:02

    About the Israel-Hezbollah deal:

    Maybe it looks like a bad deal, but it seems that the return of the bodies was important to Israel. If they believed that these two persons could be dead, I don´t think they were surprised by the outcome.

    About the Red-Cross symbol used in the rescue of Colombian hostages:

    Very bad! I am happy that the hostages were rescued, but the Colombian army have put in danger many aid workers, not only in Colombia, but around the world. If terrorist groups get the idea that aid workers could be members of the military in disguise, they are going to kill them before even looking close to them. Furthermore, they violated the Geneva Convention.

  49. 49 Count Iblis
    July 17, 2008 at 18:04

    Steve, I’m not defending terrorism, I’m just explaining that both sides have a similar mindset that leads to terrorism or other violations of international law.

    Israel may have won a few wars, but they cannot live in peace as long as they oppress the people who live in the occupied territories they control. You cannot on the one hand build settlements at the expense of the occupied population and then expect the occupied population to be very friendly toward the colonists just because “terrorism is bad”.

  50. 50 Luz Ma from Mexico
    July 17, 2008 at 18:05

    Excellent comment!

  51. 51 steve
    July 17, 2008 at 18:09

    @ Count

    Israel only built settlements because the arabs refused to negotiate and make peace with israel in 1967. After the 1967 war, Israel offered to return it all, the Arabs refused, so Israel decided to build if they’re gonna be keeping it. Again, stop blaming Israel for the actions of the arabs. Read up on the Khartoum Resolution. Time to man up and stop blaming Israel for everything.

  52. 52 Vijay
    July 17, 2008 at 18:11

    @Nick in the Us of A
    The rest of the world service output has become more reflective of what is happening in the world ie the “new world order”.
    I am minded of a British citizen who was taken hostage by saddam hussein before the first gulf war
    and executed for alleged espionage ,the uk government did nothing ,was the body ever returned to his family?

  53. 53 Bob
    July 17, 2008 at 18:13

    Re: Columbia hostage rescue

    Anything that degrades confidence in the Red Cross as a neutral organization will cause far more harm than the temporary good of releasing a few hostages. The illegal use of Red Cross emblems by Columbia cannot be denounced enough.

  54. 54 Andrew, Australia
    July 17, 2008 at 18:14

    In this day and age and with the attitude towards life in western nations especially, governments or groups will inevitably deal with terrorists or criminal gangs in regards to hostages. Threaten the hostages lives and those in a position to do so will give in to demands. It is a rarity that a change of heart will result in a release and those criminal elements know this.

  55. 55 Tom D Ford
    July 17, 2008 at 18:15

    I wish that leaders would give as much thought to sending their soldiers to war as they do to getting their dead bodies back.

    In other words, prevent the problem in the first place.

  56. 56 Anthony
    July 17, 2008 at 18:17

    Sure, why not? In the revolutionary war (U.S.) we started using guerilla tactics, and aiming for the high commanders. The British thought we were dirty cheating low class bastards for it. But they eventually caught on, and now everyone uses those tactics. The same with terrorists. If they’re gonna be shady tricksters, then why not us, if it gives us an advantage???

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  57. 57 Count Iblis
    July 17, 2008 at 18:19

    Steve, that still doesn’t allow Israel to build settlements. If we, for argument’s sake, assume that Israel has acted correctly and that some UN resolutions were not jusified, then there still are more basic international laws that forbid any country to build settlements on occupied territories under any circumstances.

    If you want to build settlements, you have to annex the occupied territories. I’m not an expert on international law, but I think this has to do with the rights of the occupied people, and the fact that occupation is a state of war, so if you build settlements for civilians you are, sort of, using civilians as pawns in a armed conflict.

    The bottom line is that both sides should stop using civilians to fight the conflict.

  58. 58 Justin from Iowa
    July 17, 2008 at 18:20

    I think the “danger” to aid agencies is being extremely overrated. Terrorists, radicals, despots, dictators, military regimes… are allready so paranoid and trigger happy, that what difference is this going to make? What’s more, these people and regimes often need the Red Cross and other organizations so badly, that whether they are suspicious or not, they are still going to use the Red Cross and respect it.

    Do you think they aren’t allready suspicious of world aid organizations?
    Do you think that this is the first, or the last, time that an aid organization will be used for a cover for military or intelligence operations?

    If you do, you are naive at best.

  59. 59 Lamii Kpargoi
    July 17, 2008 at 18:23

    Aren’t many armies already using the Red Cross symbol for their medical services or whatever they call it? Is this a violation of the international norm regarding the symbol? So if it is permissible for one aspect of the armed services to use it, what harm does it cause if another wing of the armed services in a country borrow it for a single operation, especially one that saves lives?

  60. 60 Dr Josef Panasoff
    July 17, 2008 at 18:30

    As an Israeli and as a father of soldiers I am ashamed of the deal my government did. Although I agree that prisoners should be brought home we should not exchange dead soldiers with live convicted killers.

  61. 61 Elias Lostrom
    July 17, 2008 at 18:32

    I witnessed the handover of $650000 to the team that eventually handed over the money to the kidnappers of a vessel in Somalia. It made me sick to watch and I agree with your speaker that this habit encourages further kidnappings. The situation off Somalia is still dangerous for any transiting vessel.

  62. 63 Mr. Madar
    July 17, 2008 at 18:35

    You should never, ever pay ransoms to hostage takers, otherwise potential kidnappers know which governments will pay out. This has happened in the Yemen, for example.

  63. 64 Bob
    July 17, 2008 at 18:36

    While there are many combatants who will not respect any international conventions, the rules of war still have great value in conflicts between countries. The use of the Red Cross symbol on an ambulance is not the samr as using it on combat vehicles. We should not discard rules, laws and conventions just because some will not follow them.

  64. 65 Pangolin- California
    July 17, 2008 at 18:38

    Another futile internet dungeon where the excesses of Israel and their arab neighbors are justified and denounced in turn. Most of the people killed on either side are civilians who want no part of wars.

    When a soldier puts on a uniform and picks up a gun his life and body are forfeit to the enemies of his country. When a freedom-fighter picks up a gun, mortar or bomb his life is forfeit to the soldiers. The dead bodies are of no use except fertilizer for the poppies.

    The people who kill civilians and pretend that it was somehow accidental or justified that they do so are monsters. If it’s your family member that was killed the killer is always a monster.

    If hostage taking works people will repeat the hostage taking. Nobody knows what is considered profitable to the hostage takers.

  65. 66 Ali
    July 17, 2008 at 18:40

    In my view taking pepole as hostage is the worst things that can be done it’s equal to shooting them to death !

  66. 67 Ali
    July 17, 2008 at 18:46

    In my view holding hostages is the worst things can be done.All of us should condemn it.

  67. 68 Nick in USA
    July 17, 2008 at 18:52

    Justin, you can call us naive, but where have you heard that people are targeting Red Cross workers? From what I understand, the Red Cross badge has been pretty well respected since ww2.

  68. 69 Ali Kamara, Monrovia, Liberia
    July 17, 2008 at 18:53

    Using Red Cross symbols to free hostages is not only criminal but endangers the lives of humanitarian workers. Perpetrators must face justice, even if he/she may a sitting head of state.

  69. 70 Ijesh
    July 17, 2008 at 18:58

    yes, of course, you need to have some flexibility if you are to negotiate because you cannot do so without some amount of compromise. But this flexibility is likely to promote the need for more flexibilities in the future. Its gets worse every time.
    And about the use of the red cross flag it is certainly going to endanger a myriad of volunteers. This act is therefore reproachable.

  70. 71 Syed Hasan Turab
    July 17, 2008 at 19:00

    Killing of any person for any cause dosent sound right dosent matter who so ever he/she is, on the top of that Victory celibration may be under stand worst human behaviour.
    This is outcome of excessive force been used to settle down political issues, as injustice is very clear in this case.

    July 17, 2008 at 19:01

    Israelis keep going on and on about what they claim was “a child killer”. But no one *forced* Israel to release that particular prisoner. The media hasn’t told us what the other side (Hezbollah or the ex-prisoner) says. But, Israel itself has killed very many many times more Palestinian and Lebanese children than Israeli children who have been killed.

  72. July 17, 2008 at 19:08

    No, obviously no, definitely no, the end doesn’t justify the ways.
    The Colombian Government believe that it’s acceptable, in their logic war is war, like business are business. But there exist an ironic condition, the Colombian guerilla believe in the “combination’s of all the sources of fight” (Combinación de todas las formas de Lucha) a concept created in 80’s by the FARC, and, like the Talium rule, the government apply the same strategic; you know, teeth by teeth, eye by eye. The consequences are catastrophic. So, the use of the Red Cross sign, it’s only another way to fight, what they can do with Uribe? the Colombian population loves him, he can make whatever he want, he is almost a god.

  73. 74 steve
    July 17, 2008 at 19:21

    @ Truth Behind the Propaganda

    When IDF soldiers start smashing in the heads of palestinian kids with rifle butts you’ll have a point, until then, quit your propaganda trying to equate terrorism with the action of Israel. This entire episode showed the moral bankruptcy of the terrorists, and those that support them with Hezbollah’s victory celebration, celebrating murderers. Any the sickest segments of society can support hezbollah now.

  74. 75 Dennis
    July 17, 2008 at 19:21

    giving in to terrorists will bring on more hostage takings in the world.

    syracuse, new york

  75. 76 Mohammed Ali
    July 17, 2008 at 19:33

    Chloe, i like to know from your police guest if ransoms were the last resort to freeing a hostage, will if do it?

  76. 77 nelsoni
    July 17, 2008 at 19:48

    @ Truth behind the propaganda. Tell Hamas and the other militant militant groups to stop using civilians as human shields and have well defined combat zones outside civilian areas. When this happens, civilian casualities will drastically reduce.

  77. 78 Roberto
    July 17, 2008 at 19:59

    But, Israel itself has killed very many many times more Palestinian and Lebanese children than Israeli children who have been killed.

    ——– Nobody has killed as many Palestinian children as Palestinians themselves.

    Children grow up trading cards of Palestinian suicide bomber martyrs like Americans trade baseball cards. Many immerse themselves in bombmaking activities and become suicide bombers and target civilian areas which include Israeli Palestinians and their children.

    The various sordid Palestinian terrorist groups incorporate children into their “military” activities, even going so far as to use school, hospitals, or mosques which makes all civilians using those places targets for accidents or Israeli strikes.

    Finally, there was close to ZER0 Palestinian deaths by Israelis in the years leading up to 2000. Palestine was much safer statistically than Detroit or NYC for example. Much of Palestine traveled freely within Israel.

    I see not a single Palestinian supporter, not a single Muslim is willing to address my challenge.

    Why o why in 2000 did Palestinians throw the carefully crafted highly successful peace accords over the previous decade into the trash and launch a hundred and more unceasing suicide bombing attacks into Israel which has been the starting point of all the recent deaths.

    Palestinians start a war, and whine when they get killed fighting it? Have they no honor as a people?

    Israel far from perfect, but with this prisoner exchange, again, they have taken the high road and exchanged many living for a couple of their own dead. Very commendable.

    Hezbollah gets to show how they are part of the death culture they have created for their children by celebrating death with a party. Not an ounce of shame, for they are utterly shameless.

  78. July 17, 2008 at 20:16

    I agree that countries should do everthing in their power to bring hostages home, the more powerfull the country the better chance in in doing so.
    It is both barbaric and disgusting that countries like Lebanon murder their hostages in the way they did. Moslem countries and their people seem to enjoy doing so, there can be no exuse or justification for it. However it must be assumed that its their nature and culture. A few years ago an angry mob killed an Israeli, I believe it was in the West Bank, The mob threw him out of a window and the crowd trampelled and beat him to death. People like that are not justified in living in peace, they should be horse whipped and shot as they have no justification to be respected, they are of the low and lowest of people and deserve no respect at all. A simple term for them is that they are barbarians and should be got rid off. I dont believe that Israel can seriously live in peaceful coexistance in the future with such idiotic barbarians.

  79. 80 Edmund
    July 17, 2008 at 21:39


    At what point does a person fighting for independance become a terrorist?

    Are soldiers and countries incapable of being terrorists? (our government has no qualms about it).

    How does a country unintentionally kill thousands of civilians?

    Israeli settlers have been caught (repeatedly) beating and killing Palestinian farmers and civilians. Are you so quick to call them terrorists or are they simply “defending their right to ‘self determination'”

    I understand ‘intent’, it is the intent of the palestinian militants to regain the land that was unjustly taken from them by european colonial powers. Using your logic, israeli lives are simply unintended collateral damage in the struggle.

    Its like Machiavelli wrote, the ends justify the means. Every nation has a right to ‘self determination’ right?

  80. 81 Pangolin- California
    July 17, 2008 at 21:40

    Day after day after day there are reams of moaning and wailing about two Israeli soldiers who were killed. Meanwhile Israel kills more Palestinian civilians every week and the BBC hardly takes notice. If the Israeli’s handed over two dead bodies in exchange for 200 dead they have the better part of the deal.

    A Jewish life is NOT worth more than any other life anywhere else in the world. Israel does not get to dominate the 110 million direct neighbors with its 7 million people forever. The price of the peace will be in direct proportion to the price of the injustice Israel has inflicted on it’s neighbors.

    Constantinople was a mighty fortress that stood for centuries. Where is it now?

  81. 82 bjay
    July 17, 2008 at 21:58

    Should countries do whatever it takes to bring hostages home?

    YE! These particular instances to be a ‘PATRIOTIC’ makes you feel home.

    However, using (undermine) an organization/association for political gain (RED-CROSS in COLOBIA)’,

    that is another matter Mr, Professor ‘SMOOKER’!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    We need the ‘BAROMATER’ so badly-this time in age!

    bjay connotation with accent.com

  82. 83 Emile Barre
    July 17, 2008 at 22:04

    Hostages are victims to the fortunes of war whether of the just or unjust variety. Of course they should be freed in whatever circumstances.

  83. 84 steve
    July 17, 2008 at 22:42

    @ “to steve”

    What do you propose be done with Israel and the Jews that live there? This should be good.

  84. 85 steve
    July 17, 2008 at 22:49

    I wish WHYS would get Dr. Mookie Fallah, an Israeli Arab, on the show, to talk about “zionist racist apartheid”. He is a regular contributer to the regular HYS talking points. For being an apartheid state, there are Arabs in the parliament, there are arab ministers, and arabs in the military, and arabs on the Supreme court. Oops! Wouldn’t want to confuse people with facts.

  85. 86 Jens
    July 17, 2008 at 22:56


    you argue way to emotional. try not to be cynical in your arguments. trust me the facts especially if you have the relevant quote will speak for itself. plus do not forget it is equally fashionable to bash israel as it is the USA.

  86. 87 Flying Spaghetti Monster
    July 17, 2008 at 23:48

    The Flying Spaghetti Monster says that there really werent more than a few dozen Jews in Israel 2000 years ago but they wrote themselves a nice book to tell their kids that they once ruled the world. They left Israel because they couldn’t find the right kind of fish to make gefilte fish anymore and anyways the Romans weren’t playing fair.

    The world was flat then, it had four corners and the Sun and Moon circled the Earth. Also you could fit two of every animal on Earth on one boat and when it landed they had big incest orgies to breed themselves back up from one family.

    Also old men could run 200 miles in a day, Wrestle wild lions to a standstill and tear down stone buildings with their bare hands.

    Did you know that there is a demon in your computer? It’s trapped in the little gold wires on your computer chip. Why do you think it keeps showing you porn?

    As long as we’re going to believe any old story why not make it a fun one?

  87. 88 Pangolin- California
    July 18, 2008 at 00:43

    The US was indeed an apartheid nation and it has been well documented. All over the US there were ‘sundown towns’ where a black person found after sunset would be beaten, arrested and sometimes killed. The US prison system from the time of the Civil War to the present has been used as an extension of the slavery system and blacks, primarily were used as slave labor when convicted of crimes by white juries, prompted by white prosecutors.

    A jury packed with white, little-old ladies, will convict a black man of anything a prosecuter says he did and there are documented cases of black men being convicted for crimes when they could document that they were at work miles away at the time of the crime. As one US Supreme Court justice said “Mere factual innocence is no reason not to carry out a death sentence properly reached”. Antonin Scalia quotes (American Supreme court justice , b.1936)

    All you need to know about the US is that in every major city in the nation there are homeless people who are mostly to sick, drug-addicted, depressed or otherwise challenged to take care of themselves. This “Christian” nation chooses to give it’s money to Israel rather than help their own family members.

    So when a gung-ho american supports the IDF”s right to kill whoever they please know where the sentiment comes from. A slave-holding nation that still hasn’t managed to recognize that every human being is a person.

  88. July 18, 2008 at 01:14

    Steve and Berkley . . please chill . .the tone is getting heated…

    Paul Coletti

    BBC World Service

  89. 90 Will Rhodes
    July 18, 2008 at 01:21

    Who is moderating these posts?

  90. July 18, 2008 at 01:27

    @ Steve,
    I think this heated debate will wake up Ros from his sound sleep in South Africa. I don’t think we should disturb him.

    Personally I was amazed by the heat of the debate. It reminds me of a previous heated one about Islamic schools. https://worldhaveyoursay.wordpress.com/2008/05/28/would-you-welcome-an-islamic-school-to-your-town/ , which also begged the intervention of Ros: https://worldhaveyoursay.wordpress.com/2008/05/28/would-you-welcome-an-islamic-school-to-your-town/#comment-26773

  91. 92 steve
    July 18, 2008 at 01:34

    @ Will

    I came home from work and found the first couple approved, then I responded, then it got a bit out of hand, but I just erased them all. I hate censorship, but Ros would be most upset by that sort of stuff. In my defense, he started it, calling me a racist, because I support Israel, but I should have not responded, so it is also my fault.

  92. 93 Syed Hasan Turab
    July 18, 2008 at 01:34

    This is the time for Isriel & Phalistne to understand the root cause of political issue in a decisive manner as this issue is turning into cancer because of Isriel’s strubin & delay policy for moving towards peace, I am quite sure all this is happening because of approcvhunist friends of Jewish & Phalistine, they dont care about human suffering & destrar to both, just they sale there arms to both.
    Please understand tragedies being an human being as no one is winning only humanity & values are loosing in this conflict.

  93. 94 Will Rhodes
    July 18, 2008 at 01:39

    Steve – fair enough, I came back late too – but we know the moderating guidelines and we have to stick to them.

    I know it is easy to get into an online fight, but we have to try to resist that. If we could remove all the posts that are against the moderating rules I would be really appreciative.

    As always, this is still an experiment and we don’t need to p*ss off the powers that be.

    Thanks again!

  94. 95 Roberto
    July 18, 2008 at 02:00

    You never responded to the post and fact, directed to you

    —– Nor you responded to my post directed at your screed.

    We’ll try a new topic. How come there are around 12-15% Palestinian/Arabs in Israel, yet 0% Jews in disputed Palestinian territories save the settlements and Jerusalem, 0% Jews in Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and less than 1% in Syria.

    Where the hell are the Jews supposed to live? Where the hell the Christians supposed to live? Their numbers are trending towards zero. The Zoroastrians? The Druze?

    Your people are doing a bang up job eliminating anything that ain’t Muslim in the middle east, and then killing off each other in disputes over whose Islamic beliefs are the true and Holy, and then you want to move into western countries and carry on the same way?

    No wonder you don’t respond. Not much else to say as your intentions are clear.

  95. 96 Will Rhodes
    July 18, 2008 at 02:20

    Berkley – I have asked the moderators not to publish your comments and I have asked Steve not to respond to you.

    The blog is for discussion, yes, sometimes it does get heated but when it comes to a stage where we feel that the conversation is falling below our set standards we have to leave comments made for the full-time Moderators from the BBC. That is normally once other regulars don’t post or new posters feel that they have come into a slanging match.

    They have the final discretion whether comments are posted or not.

    I have also asked the moderators not to delete your comments.

    If you would like to comment in a less heated manner you are welcome to do so.

    All the best

    Will Rhodes

  96. 97 Mark from kansas
    July 18, 2008 at 03:29

    Keeping “hostages” and “enemy combatants” from freedom is going to be a fact of war, as long as war exists. Unfortunately our leaders and militaries will always use people as bargaining chips. this is wrong, just as war is wrong.
    The main reasons wars are fought are to gain wealth, or to impose religous beleifs on an area or people. Religous persicution is wrong, Israel and the rest of the middle east will always be at war as long as they cling to their religous crutches. Secular education and a chance to get a job and make a decent living will be the biggest steps toward peace in the region. Untill there is a real effort to stop the fighting, the genocide in gaza, and the bombing of innocent civilians in Israel there can be no peace, and people fighting for the cause they are lead to beleive is right will be used as things, bargaining chips in pointless concessions that provide no real results.

  97. 98 Theo, Israel
    July 18, 2008 at 06:12

    Humanitarian aid should be for innocent people caught in circumstances beyond their control, NOT for armed terrorist or any other violent groups. Helping them ensures they will perpetrate more violence and death … so who is being helped?

  98. 99 Bryan
    July 18, 2008 at 08:17

    steve July 17, 2008 at 5:49 pm

    “Some time ago, I believe a British journalist was killed by an Israeli soldier, and the Press wanted the soldier’s head until they found out the soldier was an Israeli Arab, then it kind of got swept under the carpet. Israel refused to give the soldier up for any trial in Britain or wherever it was supposed to be. I believe he was found negligent and convicted.”

    Yes, he got a number of years in prison. And you are right about the press. Leftoid journalists couldn’t get their one-track minds around the fact that an Israeli Arab, one of the “oppressed”, was guilty here. And they also couldn’t understand how one of the oppressed could serve alongside Jews in the IDF. This opens up a huge Pandora’s box. What other rights might Israeli Arabs have? Could they (gasp) even be fully equal in every respect to their Jewish counterparts? Unwilling to deal with these major threats to their anti-Israel mindset, the leftoids typically took refuge in silence.

  99. 100 Pangolin- California
    July 18, 2008 at 09:43

    The Israel-Palestinian issue simply isn’t going to be subject to reasoned discource. The number of voices that can even acknowlege that both sides feel the deaths of their people equally are a tiny minority. One life is one life on either side of the fence and equal in value.

    The majority of the voices on this issue are quite comfortable with the idea of killing ten or twenty on this side in exchange for one dead on that side or alternatively the simple expulsion or elimination of all members of the other ethnic group from the disputed territory.

    To discuss this rationally people might need to eliminate place names or ethnic names and simple dicuss issues in the abstract. ex: “How far from the territorial line is it acceptable to kill or capture a member of the other side?”

    Forget reasons or ethnicities these people can’t even agree that they can’t snatch people from the other sides territory.

    It’s a hopeless case.

  100. 101 blacklion
    July 18, 2008 at 10:14

    Gimme a break! People who authorize high-altitude carpet bombing of civilian residential locations with cluster bombs are just as much child killers as the guy who smashed the girl’s head on a rock.

    Its terrorism by virgin-seeking jihadis when a man smashes an Israeli child’s head on a rock but its just ‘accidental’, ‘unintended’ collateral damage when dozens of Lebanese children were killed by Israeli air raids on Lebanese cities. Never mind that several dozen more Lebanese kids will most likely be killed over the next decade or so by explosive remnants of the cluster munitions.

    This is the same mentality that drives the hypocrisy of some Westerners who whine and moan loudly about Mugabe but never say even a word about all the other even more ruthless and brutal dictators in Africa like Museveni, Kagame and Zenawi. When Ugandan or Ethiopian kids grow up to hate America(ns), we’ll be told that its because Africans have a congenital and irrational hatred of America. Absolutely nothing to do with the American govt making military and political alliances with vicious dictators all around the world.

  101. 102 Doreen Ametowoyona Nudanu- Ghana
    July 18, 2008 at 12:23

    No Countries don’t need bring hostages back home. the hostages should serve their term for the crimes they have committed. this is because laws defer in every country, hostages should only be brought back home on exceptional cases.
    “People are to pay for the crimes the commit”

  102. 103 Doreen Ametowoyona Nudanu- Ghana
    July 18, 2008 at 12:30

    Am sorry i mean coutries do not need to bring hostages back home. Thank you

  103. July 18, 2008 at 16:44

    Exactly when did the Isrealies learn that their soldiers had been killed. I was under the impression that the latest war with Lebonon ended with the idea that the Hezbollah fruit cakes were going to release the soldiers.

    One can only hope that the Isrealis planted some sort of homing device on that terrorist who killed the little girl in front of the Isreali parents. And now they can have some of their agents hunt the idiot down and take out all his pals in a fair and square alls fair in the hunt for bad guys.

  104. 105 RE Paul Coletti and Will Rhodes, "World Have Your Say" blog
    July 18, 2008 at 23:08

    I called a San Francisco — A MAJOR MEDIA LISTENERS’ MARKET — AT A VERY POPULAR PROGRESSIVE RADIO INTERVIEWS AND CALL-IN PROGRAM, “Your Call” (an excellent interview and call-in radio program, 11am-12pm, M-F, usually hosted by Rose Aguilar), on KALW-fm, to report this censorship (of my comment posts incisively critical of Israel/Zionism) by the BBC’s “World Have Your Say” (blog moderators) — both shows carried by KALW (and a show which also has a good online listenership) — for the “Your Call” end-of-the-week news media review roundtable and caller news story/show recommendations or criticisms. And I have posted the story and ALL my deleted W.H.Y.S. blog listener comments online at a prominent website — with blog moderators Paul Coletti and Will Rhodes names figured (and mentioned on the air at KALW) *prominently*.

    See/hear “Your Call”, KALW-fm, 91.7fm, San Francisco, website and audio archive online at http://yourcallradio.org; Media Roundtable [07.18.08]. I’m at 17:23 into the ~55 minute program.

    — signed: The Truth Behind The Propaganda

  105. 106 Syed Hasan Turab
    July 19, 2008 at 11:02

    Please dont recall my memories, first of all living in a refugee camp around sixty years is an human tragedy on the top of that Isrieli Airforce & Army attack in refugee camp’s in Lebnon along with the killing’s of thousand’s of Phalistanian innocent helpless, empty handed children’s, may be understand worst human behaviour.ever been happend in histry of mankind.
    This is appropriate to mention about one Israli girl compairing to thousands of Phalistanian kids, thousands of womens, thousands of old age & medically disabeld Phalistanian refugees along with uncount able empty handed youngster’s. Historion’s of the time may have unlimited counts of offical terrorism of Israli Army, Air Force & Govt, how come you are awarding a Name of Terrorist to a group of refugee’s instead of freedom fighter. Fact is this these refugees been riped off & get robbed by Isrieli Jewish community & International consperious brains of Jewish Counsil.
    No doubt this is not an appropriate time to talk about groud realities & historical facts, since you started taking advantage of this sad occusion, this is why I feel essential to present historical facts.

  106. 107 Bryan
    July 19, 2008 at 13:34

    The Propaganda Behind The Propaganda,

    “And I have posted the story and ALL my deleted W.H.Y.S. blog listener comments online at a prominent website.”

    Big deal. So why not give us the name of the website so we can check if the censorship was warranted or not? Nobody has the absolute right to be published, didn’t you know? And they deleted your adversary’s comments as well, didn’t they?

    I’ve been censored endless times by the BBC, mostly on its ‘Have Your Say’ site. I don’t go running around making off-topic calls to radio shows to drop names and moan about it. Who’s interested?

  107. July 19, 2008 at 13:45

    The rules of moderation are available on the WHYS contributions charter. Like every society there are rules of engagement and WHYS is no different.

  108. 109 Bryan
    July 19, 2008 at 14:05

    Hannah July 19, 2008 at 1:45 pm

    Well, quite. Nobody should be expected to be welcome in someone else’s house if they run yelling and screaming through it leaving muddy bootprints all over the carpet.

  109. 110 Syed Hasan Turab
    July 19, 2008 at 18:34

    Infact some people are so use to of ” educated criminal society”, two thing WHYS have Impartiality & Honesty as sixty years of contiminated media, never suceed to change the geographhy. Infact this political issue misunderstood & mishandeled by Isriel & socalled supporter’s, now Isrieli histry of crimes against humanity may not be changed & is available for verification & comparisan.
    No one can shut and cut any throat because of telling truth, just we are sorting out criminal attitute & pride contribution of Jewish State towards criminal society.
    Dont forget every action has reaction & Jewish State is a big time promotor of criminal society & worst human behaviour with follow up call for Phalistanian’s.

  110. 111 Syed Hasan Turab
    July 20, 2008 at 01:00

    Instead of Muddy boot print please change it to Bloody boot prints, as enough blood been spilled from both side, because of delay to peace process & road map strategy of educated criminal’s of the world.

  111. 112 parth guragain
    July 20, 2008 at 13:40

    countries shouldn’t do anythings to free their hostages.these leaders when they get critisized by another issues take these dicission to divert public attention.

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