Who do you think got the better deal in the Israeli/Palestinian swap? Sgt. Gilad Shalit, an Israeli soldier, was freed after five years of captivity by Hamas militants.
In a hard-won deal, Israel agreed to grant freedom to 1,027 Palestinian prisoners. 477 prisoners were freed on Tuesday, including 27 women — several of which have spent decades behind bars — in exchange for Shalit. Some 350 were sent to Gaza, the rest to the West Bank. Another 550 prisoners are slated to be released in two months.
Israel can boast that it took more than 1000 Palestinians to equal one Israeli. Do the Palestinians know how this 1 Israeli for 1000 Palestinians looks to an Israeli?
On the other hand, the Palestinians got a thousand of its people back to fight the Israelis. Israel thought the deal was equitable. So did the Palestinians. In the end, it’s not going to matter. The fighting will continue until both sides decide to put down their arms and embrace peace.
Peace is an inside-outside thing. It doesn’t come by force of will but by a changed heart. Beating swords into plowshares (Isa. 2:4) is not some that the United Nations can or will accomplish.1
In the end, the only reconciling force is the inward work of God’s Spirit on the heart. We should all pray for that day. It’s not impossible. There are millions of people in the United States today from numerous ethnic groups that are no longer at war with one another.
On May 28th, 1849, Robert C. Winthrop (1809–1894), descendant of Governor John Winthrop, first governor of Massachusetts Bay Colony, addressed the Annual Meeting of the Massachusetts Bible Society in Boston. His comments are still valid, for what’s going on in the Middle East, Europe, and the United States
All societies of men must be governed in some way or other. The less they may have of stringent State Government, the more they must have of individual self-government. The less they rely on public law or physical force, the more they must rely on private moral restraint. Men, in a word, must necessarily be controlled, either by a power within them, or by a power without them; either by the word of God, or by the strong arm of man; either by the Bible, or by the bayonet. It may do for other countries and other governments to talk about the State supporting religion. Here, under our own free institutions, it is Religion which must support the State.
- “The United Nations garden contains several sculptures and statues that have been donated by different countries. This one is called ‘Let Us Beat Swords into Plowshares’ and was a gift from the then Soviet Union presented in 1959. Made by Evgeniy Vuchetich, the bronze statue represents the figure of a man holding a hammer in one hand and, in the other, a sword which he is making into a plowshare, symbolizing man’s desire to put an end to war and convert the means of destruction into creative tools for the benefit of all mankind.” [↩]