In Israel, you'd have to be living under a rock to not know that Hamas has released a videotape of Gilad Schalit that apparently was filmed on September 14, 2009. Have you heard about it in the states? The tape was received on Friday, and released to the public right before the holiday started. I saw it last night.
In order to obtain this "Sign of Life", ostensibly a step in the eventual release of Gilad, Israel freed 20 Palestinian women prisoners who are not considered to be "accomplished terrorists". Let's be clear about this: these women are members of the terrorist organizations Fatah, Hamas and Islamic Jihad. Their crimes, according the Jerusalem Post range from knife-wielding to smuggling suicide bomb belts. Charming.
Here is the video. I'm sorry I could not find one with English subtitles. Briefly, Gilad identifies himself and the date via a newspaper. He asks the Prime Minister not to waste this opportunity to obtain his freedom. He goes on to say that he loves and misses his family. "I yearn for the day when I will see you again". He recounts a shared family memory, I think to show that it is really he who is filming. He notes that he is in good health and his captors are treating him well. He then stands up and walks toward the camera (I believe to show that he is capable of doing so.)
Israel will pay a great price for the release of Gilad. Hamas is demanding the release of 1,000 prisoners, many of these "accomplished terrorists", masterminds of murder.
But that is what we do. If we could give so much for the bodies of our soldiers what would we give to have our Gilad back alive?
Almost anything, I think.