Powered by WebAds

Monday, February 09, 2009

Shalit exchange means the end of Fatah?

Israel Radio reports from the pan-Arabic London daily Asharq al-Awswat that the Olmert-Livni-Barak government has now agreed to the release of all but four names on Hamas' wish list in exchange for kidnapped IDF corporal Gilad Shalit. The four that the government refuses to release are:

Ahmad Barghouti, who built a number of bombs used by suicide bombers in Jerusalem, and who is serving 67 consecutive life terms.

Abbas Asayed, who planned the Seder night massacre in 2002, and who is serving 35 consecutive life terms.

Ahmed Saadat, who planned the assassination of Minister of Tourism Rechavam Ze'evi, who was convicted of other charges and is serving a 30-year prison term.

Ibrahim Hamid, the former head of Hamas' 'military wing' in Judea and Samaria.

If this 'deal' happens it will be the final disgrace to the Olmert-Livni- Barak government (and unfortunately an invitation to terrorists to kidnap more Israeli soldiers and civilians in the future). But ironically, if this 'deal' takes place, it may be the final nail in the coffin of the 'good terrorists' from Fatah and their leader Mahmoud Abbas Abu Mazen.
The reports first published in Haaretz, that there was a breakthrough in the deal for Shalit's return, bode ill for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. The immediate significance of a Shalit agreement would be the assembly of the Palestinian parliament again, including all the Hamas representatives now sitting in Israeli prisons. This has Fatah concerned, as Hamas would apparently claim a large majority in the parliament and could therefore render Salam Fayyad's government illegal. Hamas could also pass a law stating Abbas's term had ended on January 9 and he now had to resign and hold new elections.

It is not at all clear if any or all of these events would transpire. Egypt, which is mediating the contacts to free Shalit, will try to receive guarantees from Hamas that it will not take such steps, but nothing can truly prevent the organization from making use of its majority in the parliament.

Before the war in Gaza, Hamas did not seek early elections for either the parliament or the presidency as it feared it would lose power; however, after securing a Shalit deal and a "victory" against Israel in Gaza, it would expect increased support.

Arab papers have mentioned Tanzim leader Marwan Barghouti as one of the prisoners who could be freed in the Shalit deal. However, even though Barghouti enjoys wide support among the Palestinian public, he would have a difficult time lashing out against those who secured his release. Such a move might provide Fatah with a future leader, but even Barghouti could not stop the wave of support for Hamas.
I suppose there's a silver lining in that cloud: It would also mean the end of the illusion called the 'peace process.'


At 4:10 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

That's true... the new Palestinian leaders would be even more radical than Abbas and the ones around him. It would be a disaster for Israel but every disaster has a silver lining. What remains of the "good terrorist" Fatah would also be buried along with it. If Kadima-Labor are so stupid to proceed with this one-sided deal out of an appreciation for what they think are the short-term gains that could accrue to them in the form of Gilad Shalit release, the long term blowback is likely to be the final nail in the "peace process" they have championed for nearly two decades.


At 12:35 AM, Blogger Naftali2 said...

Hi Guys,

I know both of you are more observant than I am, so why do I keep taking the religious side of the argument?

Freeing prisoners is a MITZVAH. And I know you both feel that there is a relationship between the performance of mitzvahs and the survival of the Jewish people.

If you wish to focus in on the survival of Israel, is the a Kal VaChomer? If this applies to those in exile, most certainly it applies even more so for Israel?


At 1:52 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

Naftali, the mitzvah should be fulfilled where practicable but not if it would lead to other Jews' blood being shed. I would not want my freedom at any price and certainly not if it meant my fellow Jewish brothers would come to harm.

At 1:57 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

As a follow up, unlike Carl, I'm not Orthodox and not strictly observant. But I do believe in G-d and He wants the Jewish people to submit to the yoke of heaven.

I highly recommend you see the interview with David Shapira where he talks about the importance of the Shema to the Jewish people. It is a merit to die for G-d, to sanctify His Name and to destroy evil in the world as homage to Him. No good Jew should bow down to or surrender to those who do evil. They should do the exact opposite.

At 8:40 AM, Blogger Naftali2 said...

Hey Norman,

This could be a good discussion. My point is that, given the mitzvah, and the importance of this particular mitzvah, it would act as a shield, so to speak, and save Jewish blood.

Submitting to heaven, what's the meaning of this? I believe it to be accepting the Torah's description of cause and effect in this world over our seemingly rational mind. I say seemingly rational because upon close examination, we're really not all that rational, but we believe that we are.

Regarding your point about the Shema--there are three sins for which we should choose death over commission of these sins. But that is Shalit's choice, not ours to make for him. Our obligation is to bring him back safely.

At 10:35 AM, Blogger Carl in Jerusalem said...


Freeing prisoners is a mitzva but not at every price. I suggest that you read this post from last summer where I discussed when Jewish law might dictate not fulfilling the mitzva of freeing prisoners.

To say "freeing prisoners is a mitzva" and therefore we have to pay whatever price is necessary for Gilad Shalit's release is far too simplistic - and it's probably wrong under Jewish law.

At 12:22 PM, Blogger Naftali2 said...


I didn't say to pay whatever price necessary--although I'm not sure that is a bad idea. What I am saying is that mitzvahs have their own cause and effect attached to them. And that freeing prisoners, such an important mitzvah, has effects on the Jewish people and Israel that are not apparent. And these are desirable effects.

Now, I read your post about the mitzvah--and as I said to Norman, and as expressed in the story, if Shalit is alive, then it is his decision what to do, not ours. If Shalit chooses to remain prisoner and accept death, that is his decision, and only his decision to make. I'm willing to go along with his wishes, no matter what they are.

At 10:56 AM, Blogger elrushbuni said...

If Hamas could have gotten something for an alive Shalit, they probably would have turned in that credit in their favor a long while ago. He is probably deceased, which is why they are unable to agree to a deal- the preconditions would be too daunting for them so they have to hold out for something in their favor even though he is dead.


Post a Comment

<< Home