And it might have contrasted the moods following the swap.

Israel warmly welcomed home its son’s return, while engaging in a sobering debate about the meaning of it all and what might loom ahead.

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Meanwhile, in the West Bank and Gaza, there were no expressions of remorse for the Israeli blood spilled by the freed terrorists in pizzerias, lynchings, discotheques, and Passover Seders. To the contrary, there were frenzied calls for the kidnapping of more Gilad Shalits, while Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, not wanting to be outdone by Hamas, lauded the arrivals: “You are freedom fighters and holy warriors for the sake of God and the homeland.”

But as usual, Abbas got a pass in the editorial. Ultimately, he never seems to be responsible for anything.

Praising terrorists? A fiery speech at the UN last month, where he denied the Jewish people’s ancestral connection to the region, while citing the Muslim and Christian link? Avoiding bilateral talks? Setting preconditions for negotiations, while refusing Israel’s right to do the same? A reconciliation agreement with Hamas? PA spokesmen who continue to call for Israel’s eventual destruction and a judenrein West Bank?

All of that seems to count for little, since, we’re told, it’s Netanyahu’s fault anyway.

Then there was one final reason for infuriation.

With Muammar Khaddafi’s demise on Thursday, I was reminded again of just how shocked I was on January 21, 2009, when I opened the Times to see an op-ed, titled “The One-State Solution,” by, of all people, the Libyan leader. Surprise of surprises, he called for an end to Israel and, addressing a topic to which he brought such great expertise, the creation of one big, happy family in Israel’s place.

Having some idea of how difficult it is to get published on that page, I couldn’t quite grasp why the paper would give this tyrant prime real estate to spout off his irrelevant, absurd views on such an issue.

All I can say is, to better times!

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