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Saturday, August 29, 2009

Germany gives Hamas a deadline

The German daily Der Spiegel is reporting that the BND German intelligence agency has offered Hamas 450 'Palestinian' terrorists in exchange for kidnapped IDF corporal Gilad Shalit. Hamas has until the end of the month to respond to the offer.
According to information obtained by SPIEGEL, Israel would release at least 450 Palestinian prisoners in exchange for Shalit. After his release, the Israeli government has expressed a willingness to release further prisoners.

The government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has insisted that the prisoner releases be done as a humanitarian gesture and without any time pressure. Hamas has been given until the beginning of September to respond to the proposal.

The German negotiator has been activated at the explicit request of the Israeli government and has been commuting since mid-July to conduct negotiations with the parties to the conflict. Shalit was kidnapped in June 2006 on Gaza Strip border and has been in the hands of the Islamist Hamas ever since.
There are several important points about this offer. First, it is the first offer that has been made since the Netanyahu government took power, and it is for significantly less terrorists than the Olmert-Livni-Barak government had offered (rumored to be 1000-1400).

Second, Netanyahu is making an effort to detach the release of terrorists from the release of Shalit. Olmert attempted to do that by releasing terrorists as 'gestures' to get Hamas to come to the table. Netanyahu is through playing that game.

Third, for the first time, an offer has a deadline. This limits the amount of wiggling Hamas can do.

While I don't expect Hamas to accept (because the offer is basically saying 'we'll give you 450 and trust us on the rest'), the offer shows that Netanyahu - who at this point cannot just abandon Shalit and hope that he is released someday - is not going to let the government be pushed around by Hamas quite as much as Olmert did. And that's a good thing.


At 3:59 AM, Blogger Findalis said...

How about they return Gilad safe and unharmed & the IDF will not wipe out all buildings in Gaza.

If a deal is struck and they send back a dead soldier, the IDF should open fire and not stop into every building, every bit of infrastructure is totally destroyed.

Then do it again.

At 8:37 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

If Israel wants to play sucker for a dead body, the Arabs will see its declarations are meaningless. So much for fighting terror.


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