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Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The price for Shalit goes up again

Since the day he was kidnapped it seems, Hamas has been demanding the release of 1,000 - 1,400 terrorists for IDF Corporal Gilad Shalit. When the IDF was foolishly ordered to withdraw from Gaza without him last month, the price went up to opening the border crossings plus the same number of prisoners. The Olmert-Livni-Barak government's days are hopefully numbered (they could still remain in power for a while if no one can form a coalition after Tuesday's elections), so they are now desparate to do a deal and get Shalit home to preserve something of a legacy for their time in office. But the problem is - as I noted this morning - if they do a deal with Hamas, it could leave Fatah out in the cold.

As a result, Shalit's price has just gone up again. Hamas wants 1,000 - 1,400 terrorists released and Olmert-Livni- Barak will give it to them. Hamas wants the Gaza crossings re-opened and Olmert-Livni-Barak will give it to them. And now, Fatah wants a 'gesture' that will help it to maintain its position vis a vis Hamas, so Olmert-Livni-Barak will give them that too.
Officials in Defense Minister Ehud Barak's office told the Post on Monday that one possibility under consideration was the transfer of security for a Palestinian town in the West Bank, such as Tulkarm, to PA security forces.

The IDF was opposed to the suggestion, senior officers said, since an official transfer of security would take away the military's operational freedom in that city.

Officials in Barak's office explained that the move was necessary to prevent the "weakening" of the PA in the event of a major Hamas prisoner release in exchange for Schalit.

"A prisoner swap could undermine the PA in the West Bank and just strengthen Hamas," one official said. "Israel will likely have to make a simultaneous gesture to the PA to prevent that from happening."


While the IDF is satisfied with the PA forces, it is concerned that the success will be used by US President Barack Obama's special envoy to the region George Mitchell as leverage in meetings he will hold later this month in Jerusalem.

"Mitchell could use the success in the West Bank as a tool to pressure Israel into transferring security over to the PA," one official explained. "Israel, at this point, is apprehensive [about] this possibility, since it would be interpreted as a concession with no return."

The defense official said there was a clear distinction between permitting the deployment of PA forces under which the IDF would still retain operational freedom, and the transfer of security, which would take away the IDF's right to operate in those areas.
Sounds to me like the Defense ministry is more interested in playing politics than in defending the country. Pretty sad, isn't it?


At 2:03 AM, Blogger Vicious Babushka said...

It is very sad, and I pray that I am wrong, but I believe that Gilad passed away some time ago.

At 2:56 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

I agree with you Vicious. For Israel's out-going government nothing matters more than tying the hands of the next government. That's the three losers final act of mean-spirited revenge. And its not Gilad Shalit they care about.

At 3:34 AM, Blogger Alex said...

I agree Vicious. I just can't believe that Hamas would return him alive especially after Hizbullah gave us back bodies. I think returning him alive would be seen as weakness etc. I pray that we are wrong.

At 3:49 AM, Blogger usa dave said...

if you get back a coffin you should give one thousand back

At 6:17 AM, Blogger Findalis said...

I pray for his safety but fear that if Olmert makes a deal they will send him back dead.

At 10:24 AM, Blogger Carl in Jerusalem said...

All of you,

I'm amazed that your views are all the same. I believe Shalit's alive. That doesn't change my opinion - I don't think we should be trading terrorists for live Israeli soldiers either. But I believe Hamas has kept him alive. Hopefully the morons in charge will at least verify Shalit's alive before they make a deal.


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