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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

To free Gilad Shalit, weaken Hamas

As I mentioned earlier in the week and as I am sure many of you have read elsewhere, there is currently a 10,000-strong march making its way from northern Israel to Jerusalem to demand that Israel free Gilad Shalit 'at any cost.' The problem with this march, which is largely being incited by Israel's mainstream media, is that it demands that Hamas be strengthened. Caroline Glick argues that the only way to gain Gilad Shalit's release is to weaken Hamas.
The truth that Yediot and Ma'ariv's marketing departments ignore is that Schalit's continued captivity is a function of Hamas's growing strength. To bring him home, Israel shouldn't release a thousand terrorists from prison. It shouldn't strengthen Hamas.

To bring Gilad Schalit home a free man, Israel must weaken Hamas. And this is an eminently achievable goal. Gilad's father Noam knows it is an achievable goal. That is why last week Noam Schalit was the most outspoken critic of Netanyahu's decision to abandon Israel's economic sanctions against Hamas-controlled Gaza. That is why over the past four years the Schalit family has staged countless protests against Israel's massive and continuous assistance to Hamas-controlled Gaza.

If anything positive is to come from this march, then when the Schalit family arrives in Jerusalem they should abandon the newspapers' demand that Israel surrender to all of Hamas's demands. They should acknowledge that doing so will only guarantee that more Israelis will be kidnapped and murdered by Hamas and its allies.

If the Schalits wish to criticize the government, they should criticize Netanyahu and his government for the steps they have taken to strengthen Hamas. The Schalits should demand that the government reinstate and tighten Israel's economic sanctions against Gaza. They should demand that Israel end its supply of electricity and gasoline to Gaza and take more effective action to block smuggling into Gaza through the tunnels along the Gaza-Egypt border. All of these actions will weaken Hamas, and so contribute to the prospect of Hamas being forced by the Gazans themselves to release Schalit to his family.
Glick goes on to argue that there is someone else whom Israel needs to weaken: Barack Hussein Obama.
When Netanyahu entered office last spring his desire to appease Obama was understandable. At the time, he was operating under the hope that perhaps Obama could be appeased into ending his onslaught against the Jewish state. But the events of the past year have made clear that Obama is unappeasable . Every concession Israel has made to Obama has merely whetted the US President's appetite for more.

The policy implications of this state of affairs are clear. First, Israel must strive to weaken Obama. Since Israeli concessions to Obama strengthen him, Israel must first and foremost stop giving him concessions.

Weakening Obama does not involve openly attacking him. It means Israel should act in a way that advances its interests and forces Obama to reconsider the desirability of his current foreign policy.
Read the whole thing.


At 1:26 AM, Blogger Juniper in the Desert said...

I do agree. But I find Gilad Shalit's imprisonment intolerable.

How hard can it be for the gov to crush hamas? But supposing Gilad is no longer in Gaza but in Iran?

At 5:31 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

Its a good question. Oslo as I observed has conditioned Israeli governments to appeasement and cowardice as the default policy. Its a habit that's going to be hard to break.


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