Dhimmi Carter: Make prisoner exchanges not warContinuing its policy of giving voice to heinous politicians who ought to be put out to pasture, this morning's Washington Post features an article by former President Dhimmi Carter, who argues that Israel should be carrying out 'peaceful prisoner exchanges' with Hamas and Hezbullah rather than trying to disarm them and in Hezbullah's case push them north of the Litani River.
One of the special vulnerabilities of Israel, and a repetitive cause of violence, is the holding of prisoners. Militant Palestinians and Lebanese know that a captured Israeli soldier or civilian is either a cause of conflict or a valuable bargaining chip for prisoner exchange. This assumption is based on a number of such trades, including 1,150 Arabs, mostly Palestinians, for three Israeli soldiers in 1985; 123 Lebanese for the remains of two Israeli soldiers in 1996; and 433 Palestinians and others for an Israeli businessman and the bodies of three soldiers in 2004.If Carter wants to argue that we should kill the imprisoned terrorists rather than holding them, I am all in favor. Unfortunately, giving them away in 'exchanges' of the type advocated by Carter just leads to more kidnappings.
This stratagem precipitated the renewed violence that erupted in June when Palestinians dug a tunnel under the barrier that surrounds Gaza and assaulted some Israeli soldiers, killing two and capturing one. They offered to exchange the soldier for the release of 95 women and 313 children who are among almost 10,000 Arabs in Israeli prisons, but this time Israel rejected a swap and attacked Gaza in an attempt to free the soldier and stop rocket fire into Israel. The resulting destruction brought reconciliation between warring Palestinian factions and support for them throughout the Arab world.
Hezbollah militants then killed three Israeli soldiers and captured two others, and insisted on Israel's withdrawal from disputed territory and an exchange for some of the several thousand incarcerated Lebanese. With American backing, Israeli bombs and missiles rained down on Lebanon. Hezbollah rockets from Syria and Iran struck northern Israel.
While Carter claims to acknowledge that Israel has a right to defend itself, he says that "it is inhumane and counterproductive to punish civilian populations in the illogical hope that somehow they will blame Hamas and Hezbollah for provoking the devastating response." Carter conveniently ignores the fact that both Hamas and Hezbullah play the game of hiding among the civilian population. Carter would never do anything that would admit that there is something wrong with turning the most infirm members of the civilian population into human shields for the terrorists.
The urgent need in Lebanon is that Israeli attacks stop, the nation's regular military forces control the southern region, Hezbollah cease as a separate fighting force, and future attacks against Israel be prevented. Israel should withdraw from all Lebanese territory, including Shebaa Farms, and release the Lebanese prisoners.But without Israeli attacks, there is no chance that Lebanon's army will control the southern region (it has failed to do so for the last six years) nor that Hezbullah will cease to be a separate fighting force. As to the Shebaa Farms, Carter can take that one up with his friends at the UN.
Carter then returns to restating old mantras about the "two-state solution:"
The general parameters of a long-term, two-state agreement are well known. There will be no substantive and permanent peace for any peoples in this troubled region as long as Israel is violating key U.N. resolutions, official American policy and the international "road map" for peace by occupying Arab lands and oppressing the Palestinians. Except for mutually agreeable negotiated modifications, Israel's official pre-1967 borders must be honored.Of course, this totally ignores the fact that Lebanon has no border dispute with Israel and is not one of the two states involved in the discussion. As to the 'Palestinians,' their behavior since a Judenrein Gaza was surrendered to them last summer shows clearly to anyone who is willing to open his eyes that the 'Palestinians' do not seek a 'two-state solution,' nor even to build their own state, but rather to destroy the State of Israel and to massacre its people.
The people of the Middle East deserve 'peace and justice' as Carter states. We do not deserve to commit suicide by becoming dhimmis as he has become.