Powered by WebAds

Monday, July 03, 2006

No Exchanges

The Jerusalem Post is reporting this morning that all nine members of the 'security cabinet' are opposed to exchanging prisoners terrorists held in Israeli jails for kidnapped Israeli corporal Gilad Shalit. The Post notes that although there have been reports that ministers were upset that they were not told in advance about the arrests of Hamas politicians, and although there is opposition to Olmert's decision not to bring ground forces into northern Gaza, Olmert has managed to prevent most public opposition to his policies by ministers in the security cabinet.

In the meantime, both HaAretz and Arutz Sheva are reporting this morning that the IDF would be willing to release some 'prisoners' but not those with 'blood on their hands,' with the number of such prisoners not being important.
The IDF would support the release of terrorists who have been incarcerated as a preventative measure, or those not responsible for violent acts of terror. According to HaAretz, this would include individuals who are being held under the Prevention of Terrorism Ordinance, such as Hamas ministers and members of the Palestinian Legislative Council, as well as security prisoners jailed for relatively minor offenses, such as belonging to terrorist organizations. HaAretz also notes that there are no plans to free ordinary Palestinian criminals as Binyamin Netanyahu did to meet the required quota of prisoner releases under the 1998 Why Why Wye Accords.

HaAretz also has the parameters of what it says is a deal that would be tolerable to the IDF.
However, it says that military officials do not think the sides are close to reaching such a deal, and that the crisis over Shalit's abduction is liable to last "days, weeks, months and even years." As of Sunday night, the most updated information available to security officials indicated that Shalit was alive and that his captors planned to keep him healthy as long as they don't think the army is planning a military operation to secure his release. The military officials do not say why they consider that information to be reliable, given that they admitted last night that they have no idea where he is being held.

The conditions for an operation to free Shalit are far from ready, according to senior military officials. They said that the negotiations for Shalit's release will require a lot of patience. Patience is also likely to characterize the IDF approach to ground operations in Gaza, which are not planned for the short term. Of course, this contradicts Defense Minister Comrade Peretz's statement last night that the IDF would only be keeping its forces in Gaza for a 'short period of time.' But then, I think we all suspected from the outset that no one was going to really let Comrade Peretz run the army.

The IDF's parameters are meant to show the Olmert government what the army considers the limits tolerable Israeli concessions. The IDF believes that more significant concessions to Shalit's captors and to Hamas generally would encourage extremist Arab and Muslim groups. No surprises there.

Defense officials have also warned against ending the crisis in a way that would show 'Palestinians' and others in the region that Hamas and other extremist groups have succeeded where 'moderates' have failed.

The draft deal also calls for a total halt to the firing of 'steep-trajectory weapons' (i.e. Kassams and other rockets), whether by Hamas or other organizations; a halt to attacks on Israeli citizens and IDF troops, wherever they are located; and a ban on abductions. There were four abductions and attempted abductions over the last month, three of them in Judea and Samaria. (Eliyahu Asheri HY"D, the two teenage girls from Rechelim who escaped and Benjamin Bright-Fishbein, who was released when the 'Palestinians' discovered he was an American tourist).

In exchange for a Palestinian commitment to stop these activities, the IDF would stop operating in Gaza, while reserving the right of defense and the right to foil terror attacks. The IDF also wants a "sleep balance" between Sderot and Gaza: If Sderot's children cannot sleep due to fear of Qassam rockets, Israel will disrupt Gaza's children's sleep. It should be obvious to all of you that none of these parameters are going to be accepted by the 'Palestinians' anytime soon.

According to HaAretz, the IDF believes that Hamas leaders in Gaza recognize that their rule would be seriously threatened if an attack on the Negev leads to a harsh Israeli reprisal. That may be true, but it seems to me that the Hamas leaders don't see any attack for which a truly harsh reprisal would be forthcoming. So far, the response to last Sunday's attack has the IDF sitting and cooling its heels in Dhahaniyeh, while the air force attacks empty buildings and fields, and the Israeli government continues to supply electricity and fuel to the 'Palestinians.' The army also claims that buzzing President Bashar Assad's summer palace undercut Khaled Meshaal's position in Damascus. It's not clear to me how or why. The army buzzed the chinless wonder himself over something Hezbullah did a couple of years ago (and even bombed a Hezbullah training camp in Syria) and nothing came of it.

Senior IDF officials in charge of Gaza think Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh will choose to maintain power, at the cost of suspending terrorism. I disagree. I believe that Haniyeh will maintain at least a low level of terrorism and will still maintain power. I believe that the 'Palestinians' want the terrorism to continue. Every survey taken indicates that, and the 'Palestinians' elected Hamas knowing that Hamas would support terrorism. The question is, how long are Israelis willing to tolerate Kassams being shot several times a day at Sderot and Ashkelon. The answer to that is "so long as the effects are NotInMyBackYard."


Post a Comment

<< Home