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Monday, July 21, 2008

Egypt 'enraged' at Hamas, Syria, Iran

On Friday morning, I reported that Hamas is considering firing their Egyptian 'mediators' in the 'negotiations' to trade kidnapped IDF soldier Gilad Shalit for 'hundreds' (if not more) of 'Palestinian' terrorists, and hiring the Germans as 'mediators' instead. As a Hamas 'spokesman' put it:
"The main reason why the deal with Hizbullah succeeded was because the German mediator was objective and fair," the Hamas editor wrote. "The Egyptian mediators conducting the indirect talks between Hamas and Israel are not honest. The Egyptians are trying to fulfill Israel's demands by exerting pressure on the Palestinians and exploiting their bad conditions resulting from the siege."
As you might imagine, according to 'Palestinian Authority' 'security officials,' the Egyptians were not too pleased at Hamas' comments.
The Egyptians, according to the PA security officials, have voiced anger over the statements coming from the Hamas leadership.

The Egyptians are said to be particularly enraged over allegations made by unnamed Hamas officials to the effect that Cairo was not an honest broker in the Schalit affair.

The Hamas officials were quoted over the weekend in The Jerusalem Post as accusing the Egyptians of failing to represent the interests of the Arabs in the talks with Israel over a prisoner exchange agreement.

"A serious crisis has erupted between Hamas and Egypt," the PA security officials said. "The Egyptians have even threatened to stop their mediation efforts to reach an agreement."
The Egyptians themselves more or less confirm the PA's assessment.
However, an Egyptian diplomat told the Post his country was continuing to act as a mediator between Israel and Hamas. The diplomat accused unnamed Hamas officials of "waging a smear campaign" against Cairo in a bid to "embarrass the Egyptian government."

The diplomat said Syria and Iran were working to foil Egypt's efforts by "inciting" some Hamas leaders not to trust the Egyptians. "Teheran and Damascus are unhappy with the truce agreement we achieved last month," he said. "They don't want Egypt to play any key role in the region."
What Hamas doesn't seem to get is that as distasteful and wrong as last week's 'terrorists for corpses' exchange was, one of the reasons it happened was that only five live terrorists were given up, and four of them were captured during the war two summers ago and had not necessarily perpetrated terror attacks that were targeted against innocent civilians. The four were not tried in civilians courts and were essentially prisoners of war in the traditional sense. Only Samir al-Kuntar had been tried in a civilian court on murder charges.

While there have been all sorts of hints in the media that Israel is committed to bringing back Gilad Shalit 'at any cost,' and while the government has also hinted that negotiators seeking Shalit's release will not be bound by the new standards for hostage negotiations that are being developed by a blue-chip panel appointed by Defense Minister Ehud Barak, 'any cost' does not literally mean 'any cost.' The vast majority of the Israeli public will not countenance a deal in which thousands of 'Palestinian' murderers are released from jail in exchange for Shalit - even if he is alive and Goldwasser and Regev were (and were presumed to be) dead.

My guess is that what would fly here (though I believe it to be despicable and a mistake, and though I would certainly oppose it) would be a deal in which all terrorists without blood on their hands over a certain age (say 60) and under a certain age (say 16) were released, along with one or two 'marquee' names (Marwan Barghouti comes to mind, much as he's despicable scum). But if the 'Palestinians' really believe that Israel is going to give up a thousand terrorists with blood on their hands for Shalit, they're even bigger fools than Olmert, Barak and Livni.


At 12:54 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

They really do believe it. They've seen Olmert-Barak-Livni-Yishai already release one mass murderer from prison and since Israel has just swallowed one humiliation, the next one is easier to bear, especially with an even bigger mass murderer like Marwan Barghouti added in the mix. Hamas knows Israel has already crossed the Rubicon of not releasing terrorists with "blood on their hands" and they think Israel's government is that desperate that its willing to pay any price for Shalit, alive or dead. So they can jack up the price, secure in the knowledge that as Mordechai Kedar mentioned in his Ynet op-ed, Israel's government is always in a hurry to pocket an achievement, however dubious its value. Hamas on the other hand can sit tight and wait, calculating that pressure from the Shalit family and the Israeli media will sooner than later force Israel to pay a higher price to secure Shalit's return.

At 1:56 PM, Blogger What is "Occupation" said...

Pipes has an interesting take on the Lebanon trade..

Now Israel has released kuntar they have no legal obligation to "protect him". He is a free man in Lebanon, now Israel CAN take him out...

Once a terrorist is in an Israeli jail, Israel gives them full rights...

However once they are traded by terrorists to be released? OPEN SEASON

as we say in the states...

Happy Hunting,,

At 3:04 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

Both Carl and I agree it won't happen as long as Olmert is around. Israelis don't have any idea how to get a good deal. In contrast, the Arabs have centuries of practice in the bazaars. To get the better of an arrangement takes a lot of haggling and Israelis have little patience for it. They want to get down to the brass tacks.

At 3:30 PM, Blogger heroyalwhyness said...

Quoting comment by W is O :"However once they are traded by terrorists to be released? OPEN SEASON"
comment by Nf:". . . it won't happen as long as Olmert is around. "

Who says the effort has to be sanctioned by Israel?

Go get him.

At 3:43 PM, Blogger What is "Occupation" said...

Sammy Kuntar is not a popular person in the Druze community

There may be others who do not want him to "rise" in power from that section of Lebanon's population.

One can only hope for a small car bomb that takes him out, of course Israel will be blamed....


Quntar: Hezbollah's Version of Wiam Wahhab

Over at MESH, Michael Young explains the Druze politics, and Hezbollah's attempts to penetrate them, that lie behind the Quntar fiasco:

Jumblatt’s and Arslan’s rally for Quntar was motivated by the need to avoid Druze ill feeling by ignoring their coreligionist; but more importantly by a desire to defend their leadership over the Druze by containing Quntar, which they did by embracing him to better defuse him. Although Quntar presents no threat to their power base, he could emerge as a small headache. For example, he could conceivably be brought into parliament in next year’s elections in the Baabda constituency, where Hezbollah and the Aounists, if they decide to bother Jumblatt, have considerable electoral sway.

What is interesting in this context is that the Syrian intelligence services have set up a similar such figure in the Druze community. His name is Wiam Wahhab, and while his Druze support is negligible, he has retained public attention because he is one of Damascus’ megaphones in Lebanon. Wahhab’s rise had threatened Arslan much more than it did Jumblatt, though Arslan and Wahhab are both close to Syria. In a new reversal, Quntar’s release threatens Wahhab, while Arslan, thanks to his collaboration with Jumblatt, has re-entered the Druze political scene in relative force after a period of relative quiet. This was made possible because last May the Jumblattis and the Arslanists united in fighting Hezbollah.

A sign of Quntar’s limitations among the Druze was not recorded in this video. When the Hezbollah representative, Muhammad Fnaysh, made a speech, he was booed on several occasions; and when Quntar praised Syria in his statements, he was booed as well. The Abay gathering had little to do with Samir Quntar. It was about the traditional Druze leadership affirming itself against Hezbollah, against an interloper, by neutralizing what Jumblatt and Arslan fear may be a Hezbollah creation in their midst.

Read it all here.

Update: Apparently Hezbollah is reading Jumblat along similar lines. Here's an item from today's Al-Balad newspaper quoting a source close to Hezbollah:


Robert Fisk writes:

And there was a certain sleight of hand in all this. Mr Nasrallah had promised to retrieve the bodies of Palestinian "martyrs", and they included the remains of 19-year-old Dalal Moghraby, which were supposedly stacked on the first lorry to cross the border yesterday. She was the girl who led 11 Palestinian and Lebanese gunmen in an attack on the Israeli coast road north of Tel Aviv. Cornered by the Israeli [sic] army, she decided to fight it out. Thirty-six people died and a surviving videotape shows an Israeli agent, a certain Ehud Barak – yes, the man who is now Israel's Defence Minister – firing shots into her body and dragging her across a road. Mr Barak was one of the Israeli cabinet members who voted for the return of her corpse yesterday. But the Palestinians, it turned out, did not want their dead returned to Lebanon. Dalal Moghraby's mother Amina Ismail, for example, wished her remains to lie where she was buried in Israel – the land which she and millions of other refugees still regard as part of Palestine. The Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine – General Command said it wanted its dead "martyrs" to remain on "Palestinian land" as they would have wished, and asked Hizbollah to exclude them from the returning corpses. No such luck. For Hizbollah had other ideas and – with the agreement of the Israelis, of course – brought them back to the land of their exile.



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