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Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Shalit family used Norway to intervene with Hamas

According to the New York Times, the family of kidnapped IDF Corporal Gilad Shalit used the government of Norway to liaise with Hamas and produce Monday's audio tape.

Hat Tip: Noblesse Oblige via NY Nana
In mid-June, Mr. Shalit traveled to Norway with Yossi Beilin, the head of the leftist Meretz Party in Israel, and met with Jonas Gahr Store, the Norwegian foreign minister, a spokesman for the Norwegian Foreign Ministry confirmed. A few days later, Sven Sevje, the Norwegian special envoy to the Middle East, met with the Hamas political chief, Khaled Meshal, in Damascus, Syria, on behalf of the Shalit family.

In the meeting with Mr. Meshal, the Norwegian envoy requested that either a Norwegian official or a representative of the Red Cross be allowed to visit Corporal Shalit in Gaza.

The request was denied, but Mr. Meshal said the Israeli soldier was in good health and promised to help produce a sign of life.


On Tuesday, a Hamas official in Gaza, Osama al-Mezeini, told Islamic Jihad Radio that Corporal Shalit had not yet completely recovered from injuries he sustained during his capture, and that he needed better medical care. Mr. Mezeini said the soldier was being held in isolation in a location that did not provide adequate sanitary conditions for a wounded man.

Those statements contradict what Mr. Meshal told the Norwegian envoy, and could be a sign that the captors are trying to exert pressure as a catalyst for negotiations.

Israel, the United States and the European Union consider Hamas to be a terrorist organization, and refuse any dealings with it. But Norway, which is not a European Union member, maintains contact with Hamas and Israel.
I have a real problem with this kind of interference in the government's foreign policy prerogative. It harks back to a previous set of negotiations in Oslo, in which Beilin (whom Yitzchak Rabin famously referred to as "Peres' poodle) participated - the illegal negotiations with the PLO that produced the Oslo 'declaration of principles' in 1993. In the United States, the Logan Act, a criminal statute prohibits private citizens from engaging in "correspondence or intercourse with any foreign government or any officer or agent thereof, in relation to any disputes or controversies with the United States, or to defeat the measures of the United States." Israel doesn't have a Logan Act, but it should.

Suppose that next month Beilin and Noam Shalit (whom I had figured as a leftist almost from Day One after his son was kidnapped) go to Oslo and come back with an agreement with Hamas: Israel will release 1400 terrorists and Hamas will release Gilad Shalit. Despite the fact that such an 'exchange' would endanger every Israeli citizen, the pressure on the weak Olmert-Barak-Livni government to accept such an agreement would be enormous. That is why private citizens (and Beilin - who is not in the government - is a private citizen in this regard) should not be interfering with the State's conduct of foreign policy by negotiating with its enemies about anything.

I know that someone is going to say, "but all Beilin and Noam Shalit did was to ask the Norwegians to bring back a sign of life." There are three responses to this. First, the same thing could have been accomplished through the Red Cross, which is a proper channel. The Israeli government could have approached the Norwegian government, which would have been a proper channel. And Beilin comes to this incident with unclean hands because he has a history of undermining governments in this exact manner.


At 7:44 AM, Blogger Lois Koenig said...


Thanks for the hat tip. You did indeed have Noam Shalit pegged almost from the get go. Yossi Beilin? A give away.

In my heart, there is nothing I would want more than seeing both Gilad Shalit and the other Israeli prisoners released, but to deal with an enemy who would in all likelihood return them in, G-d forbid, body bags after collecting their released terrorists and their booty, and sending their terrorists through a revolving door right back to their specialty..terrorism.

There just can be no deals cut with terrorists. They perceive it as weakness, and right now Olmerde and crew put Israelis between a rock and a hard place.

At 8:06 AM, Blogger Robertcw72 said...

The problem with the Logan Act is that it has never been tested in the US. Sure, it's law but until its actually tested, its a useless law - like the War Powers Act.


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