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Monday, February 04, 2008

Olmert already ignoring Winograd recommendations

Now that he's feeling a bit more secure, Prime Minister Ehud K. Olmert is ignoring at least one of the recommendations (and probably more) that were in the final Winograd Committee report issued last week.

As I noted yesterday, this is what the Winograd Committee had to say about exchanging terrorists for Israelis held hostage:
In a chapter devoted to the dilemmas of such exchanges, the Winograd Committee strongly warned against "crazy deals" in negotiations with terrorists that would only increase their motivation to abduct soldiers, and urged Israel to formulate a clear policy for dealing with instances of kidnapped soldiers.

In the chapter "Kidnapping - A Strategic Threat," the Winograd panel said the lack of a formulated policy on how to deal with abductions of soldier was "a strategic mistake and even weakens Israel. As long as we appear vulnerable," it went on, "the price for the return of the soldier is higher and the motivation to kidnap additional soldiers increases."

The report admiringly cited the US's declared policy of not negotiating with terrorists as having minimized the number of attempts to kidnap American soldiers. The Winograd Committee recommended that Israel engage in a dialogue with its allies and formulate a joint policy that would enjoy international legitimacy as well as global cooperation.
Olmert has now decided to send exactly the wrong message to the 'Palestinians.' He has decided - against the recommendation of the General Security Service (equivalent to the FBI plus the Secret Service in the US) - to release terrorists with 'blood on their hands' in exchange for kidnapped IDF soldier Gilad Shalit.
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has decided to relax the criteria regarding prisoners to be included in an exchange for kidnapped soldier Gilad Schalit and push forward with a swap, despite vociferous objections by the Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet), The Jerusalem Post has learned. Olmert met on the matter Sunday with Defense Minister Ehud Barak, Vice Premier Haim Ramon, Internal Security Minister and former Shin Bet head Avi Dichter, Minister without Portfolio and former Shin Bet head Ami Ayalon, Environment Minister and former deputy Shin Bet head Gideon Ezra, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and Justice Minister Daniel Friedmann.

Olmert's decision means he has accepted the recommendations of Ofer Dekel, his point man on negotiations over the missing soldiers, to relax the criteria regarding who could be included in an exchange.

Shin Bet head Yuval Diskin has argued against relaxing the criteria and engaging in a massive exchange of hard-core security prisoners, saying this could lead to a spike in terrorism and harm Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas's standing among Palestinians, while boosting support for Hamas.


Ramon, Dichter, Ayalon and Ezra are believed to be in favor of a more flexible definition of "blood on the hands," while Livni and Friedmann are thought to be opposed.

The deal will reportedly include the exchange of 450 Palestinian prisoners, whose names were drawn up over the last six weeks by an interministerial committee headed by Ramon. It is, however, not expected to be carried out for a number of weeks.

Senior government officials said the final deal would have to be approved by either the full cabinet, the security cabinet, or a special interministerial committee appointed to approve the exchange.

Last week's Winograd Committee report on the Second Lebanon War strongly urged that Israel not do "crazy deals" to secure the release of captured soldiers, since this only boosted terrorists' motivation to capture more.
Israel Radio reported this morning during its 5:00 - 6:00 AM news magazine that those released would at least include people who murdered 'collaborators' (Arabs who cooperated with the Israeli security forces and who were murdered by fellow Arabs).

The reason for the sudden push behind the Shalit case is purportedly a letter received from Gilad Shalit that has been 'authenticated.'

I have spoken many times about the consequences of releasing terrorists in exchange for kidnapped citizens and soldiers - most recently here. The bottom line is that if Israel refuses to deal, there are less kidnappings. If Israel makes deals to release terrorists there are more kidnappings and more terror attacks. While not making deals to return hostages home doesn't do anything for the families whose loved ones are kidnapped, the government is supposed to see the interest of the general public and not the interests of those individuals - like Noam Shalit (Gilad's father) who apply the most pressure. Sadly, the Olmert-Barak-Livni junta is incapable of protecting the public interest. God forbid, many more Israelis may pay with their lives for their impetuousness.


At 3:57 PM, Blogger Enzo said...

The only thing Olmert has to ignore is Annapolis! There cannot be any peace with these bloodthirsty terrorists! And build a wall across the border with Egypt. How can anyone trust them?!

At 4:04 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

A government that does not fear Heaven has already had the homocide bombing in Dimona and will face many more disasters. The beginning and the end of wisdom belongs with G-d. A true Jewish King obeys G-d first. The current government in Israel ignores him and talks of freeing murderers of Jews from its prisons, refuses to defend Jews and considers giving away Jerusalem. The day after Winograd nothing has changed.


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