Sputnik discussed this issue with Dror Eidar, Op-ed editor for Israel Hayom daily.
Sputnik: How justified are the security concerns voiced by Israeli officials?
Dror Eidar: This decision is a kind of a dilemma because Hamas is a very cruel terror organization and their leaders don’t care about the people and the inhabitants, they use them as a kind of a shield. On the other hand, we are in a humanitarian chaos. There were some sick people; they wanted to pass through Israel or to have medical care in Israel.
The thing was that these people are relatives of Hamas leaders. Israel has four citizens in Gaza – two bodies of Israeli soldiers and two live citizens who are captives in Hamas prisons. Israel told them, “you want humanitarian treatment from our side, and we want you to be kind and give us some details about these people, or maybe to make an exchange of prisoners.” The Supreme Court did not accept it and said that humanitarian values are beyond security measures. We have to understand that Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005, we are no longer there, and we don’t control the area.
Sputnik: What dangers does this new ruling pose for the security of Israel?
Dror Eidar: There’s no danger in it.
We wanted to use it to pressure Hamas to obtain our people there. These leaders see that their daughters or wives need treatment; Israel says “if you want treatment for your daughter, please, give us our people that you hold against the law in your prison,” that’s all. The Supreme Court denied it and said that humanitarian values are beyond other values such as security. So, there’s no danger.
Gaza doesn’t [pose] any danger to Israel but they annoy us. Every two months, if they don’t feel comfortable with their citizens, they push the pressure outside towards Israel.
Dror Eidar: I don’t think [it would]. It’s a problem. When you have someone that wants treatment, we have a heart and we care about them; they are poor people. But the problem is that their leaders don’t care about their lives. We aren’t responsible for all the poor of the world.
But when you see someone specifically, you take care of him or her. I don’t think that the government will change it because it’s not a big story that will change the whole situation.
Dror Eidar: Most Israelis serve in the army, so they know how to use weapons. From time to time we have some terrorists that come and try to kill someone; the government thought that if more people have weapons it will help to respond immediately, when you see someone that wants to stab another citizen.
If you compare the percentage of weapons in Israel and in other countries, according to the UN, Israel is at 81st place. There’s no evidence that violence is getting higher because of that fact. Also, according to the research by the UN, Israel’s murder rate ranks 142 out of 207.
Views and opinions expressed in this article are those of Dror Eidar and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.