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Sunday, July 04, 2010

Netanyahu on a collision course with the Shalits?

Haaretz gleefully reports that Prime Minister Netanyahu is headed on a collision course with the Shalit family.
This week Netanyahu has encountered some turbulence in the form of apparent widespread public support for the Shalit family, which is demanding a deal at any price. His stated refusal last night to yield to the Shalits' pressure has placed him on a collision course with the family for the first time.

All the parties in this affair are currently playing their roles, reading their messages from a sheet of paper in a display for all the public to see. It was almost expected that Zvi Shalit, the soldier's grandfather, raged at Netanyahu's statements yesterday by likening them to a death sentence against his grandson.

The prime minister was correct in reminding us of the prisoners released in the Elhanan Tennenbaum swap with Hezbollah, noting that they resumed their terrorist activities after being set free (yet somehow neglecting to mention that he voted in favor of the swap).

Netanyahu's statements are factually correct. A few of those released in the Tennenbaum swap, particularly Islamic Jihad operatives from the Jenin area who were then considered relatively minor cogs, quickly vaulted to the top of most wanted terrorists list for their roles in murdering dozens of Israelis.

Netanyahu said that the bone of contention centers around 125 names. Hamas submitted a list of 450 names, of whom Israel agreed to release 325. Israel then agreed to a bridging proposal by the German mediator. It was at this point last December that Hamas decided to freeze the discussions. Unless Hamas shows flexibility in its demands, it doesn't appear that Netanyahu is ready to budge.
The entire 'march' is being orchestrated by the media, which is devoting more space to it than to all other topics combined. Today, a major highway is to be closed at rush hour to allow the marchers to march down it - please recall how many right wing 'activists' were arrested for trying to shut down highways during the 'disengagement.'

Shalit's uncle was on Channel One last Wednesday, and pronounced that since Israel is a democracy, and there are 'tens of thousands' of people in the streets demonstrating, the government must cave in. Of course, it never occurred to the reporters, Geula Even and Oded Shachar, to ask 'well in that case, why wasn't the disengagement stopped?" or "isn't that street fascism?"

But Netanyahu is not known for holding his ground. He is known for staking out strong positions and then yielding on them. The groundwork for that is already being laid.
Senior Israel Defense Forces officers say Palestinian prisoners released in exchange for kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit could be allowed to return home to the West Bank, and that the security services could deal with the potential threat caused by freed Hamas activists.

This goes against the statement by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last week, who said some of the prisoners would be banned from returning to the West Bank, where he said they could return to terror activities.

GOC Central Command, Avi Mizrachi, the most senior IDF officer in charge of security in the West Bank, told Haaretz six weeks ago that he was "not afraid" of Hamas activists returning to the region, and that the IDF and the security forces could handle it.

At a press conference Thursday night, Netanyahu said: "I am steadfast on the principle that dangerous terrorists will not return to parts of Judea and Samaria [the West Bank] where they can continue to harm Israel's citizens." Netanyahu said if these prisoners were freed, they could take advantage of "breaches and openings in the fence" to carry out terror attacks in Israel.

Netanyahu said the second principle on which he would not negotiate is the release of prisoners convicted of the most heinous acts of terror.

When Haaretz asked Mizrachi whether freeing Hamas activists would lead to an increase in attacks, he said: "I am not afraid of terrorists going back. It takes them a long time to get reconnected to the area."

Mizrachi also said the IDF "can overcome" the presence of the released Hamas prisoners in the area, based on the IDF's success in thwarting organized attempts to carry out terror attacks against civilians and troops.
But if you read all the way to the bottom of the article, you find out that Mizrachi took no position on whether exchanging 1,000 'Palestinian' terrorists for Shalit is the right move. And you also find out that what's behind the IDF's success in shutting down Hamas in Judea and Samaria is the Shin Bet, and the Shin Bet is opposed to the exchange.
Mizrachi did not take a stand in principle on whether a swap, as it is now being presented, is the right thing to do, and opinions differ among the IDF brass as to whether freeing so many terrorists in exchange for Shalit is right.

In discussions with the septet of ministers six months ago, IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi reportedly supported an exchange proposal by the prime minister's representative, Hagai Hadas, and the German negotiator Gerhard Conrad.

The demand to deport some of the released terrorists to the Gaza Strip or abroad comes from the Shin Bet, which takes a more cautious view than the IDF. Shin Bet chief Yuval Diskin took part personally in some of the negotiations, and went over every name on the list of terrorists who would be freed, and stated which ones should be banned from the West Bank.
Read the whole thing.

Barack Obama cannot stand up to anyone except Binyamin Netanyahu. Is there anyone who cannot stand up to Binyamin Netanyahu? We're still looking.


At 11:01 AM, Blogger YMedad said...

a) Noam's twin brother was killed in the Yom Kippur War.

b) that TV interview with Betzalel Raz, Gilad's uncle was last Thursday, after I rechecked.

At 11:24 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

The Shalit family and Israel's leftist media which backs them, knows Netanyahu's weak point: pressure. Pile on enough of it and he will do what he swore he would never do. Who is to say Netanyahu wouldn't give ground just to be able to go on to the next crisis?

As he has learned, he is perceived as the Rodney Dangerfield of Israeli politics. No believes a word he says for every thing changes the next day. Here's betting the Shalit family will prevail in the argument over how to win their son's freedom, for which there is widespread public sympathy.

On that count, Carl, you, I and Netanyahu are definitely in the minority. The only thing holding up the deal at the moment is because the Shin Bet doesn't want it.

At 11:40 AM, Blogger Carl in Jerusalem said...

In case you all didn't figure out yet, Yisrael was the source for the interview.


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