****This is an entirely personal viewpoint****
The hysteria surrounding Gilad Shalit in Israel –and passed it on through the Jewish News in Australia–deserves comment. I’ve been thinking about it for some time, and it was only when I read Haaretz (see below), that I thought it was time to comment.
Here`s the cold truth.
Shalit is a prisoner of war.

It is simple as that, and that is how the rest of world sees it and must wonder what is going on in Israel. Many Israelis (at least those associated with the Shalit campaign, and the politicians who have manipulated the situation) just don’t seem to understand that very simple point. Or perhaps they do understand the rules of war, but find the Shalit cause a useful political tool.
It is very unfortunate that his capture has been manipulated into another psychological game to perpetuate the idea of Israel’s permanent victimhood (as the whole nation’s child–not even an adult) in Israel. Thus, Shalit is referred to as ‘abducted’ rather than captured in war situation. Shalit has become a useful cause for unrealistic Israeli patriotism and nationalism.
Whoever is holding him in Gaza by refusing Red Cross access is playing this game very well. I as much as anyone want Shalit free, but …on the other hand……Israel has no compunction about arresting and locking up young (often innocent) Palestinians. Hamas and others they are going to get hundreds of Palestinians free, by playing the Shalit collective psychosis game.
And for those who are critical of the ‘left’, remember that the Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem issued a statement saying concerning Galit: “international humanitarian law absolutely prohibits taking and holding a person by force in order to compel the enemy to meet certain demands, while threatening to harm or kill the person if the demands are not met” . See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gilad_Shalit. The French government is also correct to be exerting pressure, as Shalit is a dual French-Israeli citizen.
At least some in Israel are starting to make comments about the bizarre nature of it all–see Anshel Pfeffer / Shalit affair reveals Israel’s psychosis. http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1095782.html