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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

It's come to this, Part 4

Der Spiegel is reporting that the German-brokered 'negotiations' over how many terrorists Israel will release in exchange for kidnapped IDF corporal Gilad Shalit are 'headed for failure.'
German-brokered negotiations on a prisoner swap between Israel and the radical Palestinian group Hamas are said to be close to collapse, due to the position of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. According to information obtained by SPIEGEL, shortly before Christmas Netanyhu surprisingly withdrew his agreement on a deal that had already been struck and instead presented a new "final offer" to the Palestinians, with markedly poorer conditions.

The original deal envisaged swapping 1,000 Palestinian prisoners for Gilad Shalit, the Israeli soldier captured by Hamas militants in June 2006. Israel had reportedly agreed in principle to an exchange but wanted to transfer 120 prisoners from the Fatah-controlled West Bank to the Gaza Strip -- which is controlled by Hamas -- or to another country. Negotiators from Germany's foreign intelligence agency, the Bundesnachtrichtendienst (BND), relayed the offer from the Israelis to Hamas before Christmas.


In Jerusalem, Netanyahu's about-face is being blamed on a quarrel with his chief negotiator, Hagai Hadas. Netanyahu allowed Hadas to negotiate with Hamas and the BND for months, without worrying about the details of the deal. Once he was presented with the agreement he was shocked by its implications. He is reported to have said internally that the concessions went too far.

The back and forth on the prisoner swap has dealt a blow to the BND's reputation. Hamas has criticized the German negotiators, saying they are no longer neutral and accusing them of having made too many concessions to the Israeli government.
This story rings true, but if it is, I would look for Hadas to resign in the next few days.

Arutz Sheva adds:
In Israel, meanwhile, there has been speculation by nationalist pundits regarding what appears to be a turnabout in the mainstream media's coverage of the Shalit negotiations. The mainstream media had been promoting the deal extremely aggressively for months on end, and coverage of the subject reached a frenzied pitch in December. Suddenly the coverage seems to have gone silent, and there have even been prominent reports that argue against the deal, written by leading reporters.

Uri Elitzur, editor of the nationalist Makor Rishon, speculated that the reason for the 180-degree shift was connected to reports that the Obama Administration had asked Israel not to go forward with the deal, because it would encourage extremists throughout the Middle East. Elitzur opined that Israel's mainstream journalists, who are known to favor Obama, took their cue from him and executed a voluntary about-face. Likud nationalist Moshe Feiglin, writing in Maariv/NRG, quoted and echoed Elitzur.
I'm pretty sure I argued that Obama didn't want the deal to go ahead. In any event, this is too sensible not to be true.


At 2:42 AM, Blogger What is "Occupation" said...

Israel should swap ONE israeli for ONE arab..

Otherwise, if Israel swaps 1000 arabs for ONE israeli, Israel should state in public that from now one all responses to arab violence will be 1000 to one...

If one Israel is murdered, 1000 arabs will have to be executed...

If this is what hamas wants, it can be arranged...

At 3:26 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

I think its on the balance a win for Israel. Israel must not do anything to strengthen Hamas. Shalit is a casualty of war and next time there is a war with Hamas, the IDF must spare no effort to find him and bring him home. If the Chief Of Staff refuses, as Ashkenazi did last time, show him the door.

At 4:34 AM, Blogger Mike Dugas said...

If Obama really did ask that the trade not go through for those reasons then it's got to be the first rational decision he's made in a year. I still have to wonder about the reason behind the request. So as not to encourage terrorists is way too reasonable for this administration.


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