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Thursday, June 18, 2009

Obama helping to prevent Gilad Shalit's release

Next Thursday it will be three years since IDF Corporal Gilad Shalit was kidnapped from his post at the Kerem Shalom crossing point on the border between Israel and the Gaza Strip. In three years, his family has had one tape recording from him and a letter or two. Shalit has had no visitors - not even from the Red Cross, which only now has finally asked to see him.

Since Shalit was kidnapped Hamas has insisted he will not be released except in exchange for hundreds of terrorists murderers who have committed some of the most heinous crimes in the State of Israel's recorded history. Releasing those terrorists would give Hamas a new lease on life and would reconstitute the terror infrastructure that Israel's security services have worked day and night for years to destroy. No Israeli government can make that kind of sacrifice.

This past winter, the IDF executed Operation Cast Lead in Gaza. They did not attempt to rescue Shalit. At the time, I speculated that Shalit was hidden in a bunker underneath Shifa Hospital in Gaza City along with the Hamas leadership. The government did not have the temerity to send the IDF to lay siege to a hospital. Shalit was left in Gaza.

At the time, there were demonstrations calling for the IDF to find Shalit and free him. As a result, the Olmert-Barak-Livni government hit upon the idea of making the re-opening of the Gaza Crossings to all but the most basic humanitarian aid contingent upon the release of Gilad Shalit. The Netanyahu government has continued with that policy. On Wednesday, in a bid to bring about the day that the crossings are re-opened, the Netanyahu government proposed releasing 1750 'prisoners' - more than the 1000 - 1400 Hamas has demanded - provided that Israel gets to choose their identity. Hamas declined the offer.

Now the Obama administration is getting involved and trying to force Israel to give up its best bargaining chip for Shalit's release. It is trying to force Israel to open the crossings without Shalit's release.
The United States has stepped up pressure on Israel regarding the Gaza Strip: Three weeks ago it sent Jerusalem a diplomatic note officially protesting Gaza policy and demanding a more liberal opening of the border crossings to facilitate reconstruction.

U.S. and Israeli sources say the note was followed by a verbal communication clarifying that the Obama administration thinks Israel's linkage of the case of abducted soldier Gilad Shalit and the opening of the crossings was not constructive.

The note was delivered to Israel after a decision by senior U.S. officials including Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and special Mideast envoy George Mitchell. The latter discussed the contents of the note during his visit to Israel last week.


The note focused on a number of issues that have troubled the U.S. administration regarding Israeli policy toward the Gaza Strip.

The note's central message was that if Israel believes that the Palestinian Authority should be strengthened vis-a-vis Hamas, it must take the necessary steps regarding the Strip.


Verbally, the Americans relayed a message on Israel's linkage of the Shalit case with a more extensive opening of the border crossings. Israel is particularly insistent that unless there is progress in the negotiations for Shalit's release and a new sign of life is received, there will be no concessions on the crossings.

The United States made clear that it is dissatisfied with this Israeli policy and wants Jerusalem to reevaluate its stance. "Until you change this, it will be impossible to progress," a source quoted the American officials as saying.

"This policy has not led to progress on the Shalit case and we do not think that it is contributing to anything," the U.S. officials were quoted as saying.
Read the whole thing. Yes, there's more.

The visceral hatred of Israel that emanates from Washington these days continues to increase. I'm sure that Obama's court Jews - Bob Wexler, Gary Ackerman, Rahm Emanuel and David Axelrod - are all feeling proud of themselves these days.

America is in good hands. Unfortunately, they are around Israel's throat.

What could go wrong?


At 9:05 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

Carl - I call to your attention a good op-ed in the vein of those that you have written since you began blogging by Israel Harel, one of the handful of non-Leftists at Haaretz. The headline says its all:

They Don't Want A State

Here is the money quote:

"Nevertheless, even with the sharp sword of truth at their necks, some Jews refuse to give up their illusions. They, too, were quick to blame Netanyahu for the Arabs' refusal to shake the outstretched hand this time as well. And because that has been the way of such Jews throughout the generations, the galut - the exile - has lasted so long, the birth pangs of redemption are so hard and the blame always falls on their own people."

There's lots more. Read it all.

At 9:06 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

My free advice is to send a diplomatic note back to the US that suggests that such notes are unhelpful coming from the US, and that the USes efforts would be better used in securing the release of Shalit, than in pressuring Israel to make concessions ahead of a release. Point out that concessions from Israel have only invited more violence and attacks, and driving Israel towards them is antithetical with achieving a peaceful resolution of this conflict.

But more diplomatically than that.

At 9:10 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

Barry Rubin has observed the Obama Administration's Gaza policy makes no sense whatsoever since it doesn't strengthen the PA or advance the peace process and it strips Israel of the only real leverage it has to bring home its MIA soldier.

The only thing that appears to motivate the Administration's self-destructive dealings with Israel is its cold hostility towards the Jewish State. If they're trying to bring the two sides together, what Washington is doing is guaranteed to have the opposite effect.

At 9:53 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

Kranky, as Martin Sherman pointed out in his critique of the Bar-Ilan address, the most important issue in the conflict between the Jews and the Palestinians is one of will. Netanyahu's concession went a long way towards convincing them that the Jews, when the chips are down, will break first. And as I noted from Harel, there are Jews in Israel who are always ready to take the enemy's side. Make no mistake: agreeing to a complete settlement freeze and a Palestinian state will mark the beginning of the end of the Zionist ethos. The Arabs will see Israel's demise as just a matter of time in that they have infinite patience to see it happen - the Crusaders lasted a little more than two centuries in the land in which Israel now exists. In short, having will here means whether the Jews are passionately committed to Israel's survival as the Palestinians are passionately committed to annihilating it. Whoever breaks first will be the one to disappear from history. We can only hope the Jewish people will remain steadfast.


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