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Sunday, March 22, 2009

IDF preparing to rescue Shalit?

Does Haaretz's Amir Oren know something the rest of us don't? (Hat Tip: IMRA).
The impression (accurate or not) among Israeli decision makers is that both those alternatives, a rescue operation and the kidnapping of Hamas leaders, were likely to do more harm than good. The frustration in the elite commando units - such as Yamam of the Border Police, Shayetet 13 of the navy and Sayeret Matkal, which were training for scenarios like this before Gilad Shalit was born, and which surely awaited the information and authorization allowing them to rescue the soldier - did not in itself justify an unreasonable risk.

In the case of Entebbe, in 1976, commanding officer Dan Shomron went in with personnel from the air force, Sayeret Matkal, the Paratroops and the Golani infantry brigade, after the Rabin government had already yielded to the hijackers' demands, but then backtracked and agreed to try a military operation. There, the possibility was taken into account that dozens of people, both rescuers and abductees, were liable to be killed. But even according to that estimate, it was clear that nearly 200 civilians were to be spared the threat of execution.

In the Shalit story, where getting close is far easier, but achieving a surprise is far more difficult, the decision makers face a crueler calculation. A lthough a certain proportion of casualties among the rescuing force is palatable, this is true only if the object of the rescue operation himself is not badly injured.

This was a transparent equation from the outset. So one suspects that Ehud Olmert's no-deal speech was intended mainly to prepare an excuse for a potential operational failure: We were apprehensive about an operation, we preferred not to go that route, but we were pushed into it by the obstinacy of Hamas.
Hmmm. Let's just say that it's long overdue.


At 3:50 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

I'm in favor of such an operation, no matter the risks. It time for Israel to stand up to the Hamas bullies. If it means Gilad Shalit has to be brought home dead, so be it. At least he will come back home Israel's terms and Hamas will lose the ability to extort the country into surrender. The Jewish State has to fight back!

At 10:00 PM, Blogger LB said...

This sort of operation should have been the first option - and the only option. Even if soldiers lose their lives (in defense of Israel, as is their mission) - we will be sending our enemies a much stronger message - that they cannot blackmail us without a price. A heavy price.


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