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Sunday, January 02, 2011

Arad's freedom could have been bought

One of the headlines in Saturday evening's news in Israel was a claim by a 'former IDF chief of staff' that Ron Arad's freedom could have been bought. Arad (pictured) was shot down over Lebanon in 1986, and while negotiations went on for his freedom for a couple of years, he has not been heard from since 1989. The 'former IDF chief of staff' was Dan Halutz, the failure who was chief of staff during the Second Lebanon War, who finally resigned way too late. It was Halutz who decided that the IDF could defeat Hezbullah without ground troops and then proceeded to veto the massive bombing campaign that would have been required to do that. Halutz has recently joined the Kadima party and has been making more public statements as a result.
Israel had the chance to buy the return of missing Israel Air Force navigator Ron Arad, whose plane was shot down over Lebanon in 1986, former IDF chief Dan Halutz said on Saturday.

"We had the opportunity to pay money in order to buy Arad's freedom but because of national considerations, we decided not to do it," Halutz said while speaking at a cultural event in Be'er Sheva.

Halutz made the reference to Arad in order to opine on the current predicament of freeing kidnapped IDF soldier Gilad Shalit, who was snatched by Gaza-militants in 2006 during a cross-border raid.

"Shalit's kidnapping occurred while I was IDF chief and I understand the frustration," Halutz said. "If it had been possible to do something immediately, we would have done it."
Really? Why would Halutz have sent ground troops into Gaza when he wasn't willing to send them into Lebanon when people believed that Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev were alive three weeks later?

Moreover, the implication of Halutz's statement is that we shouldn't miss the opportunity to free Gilad Shalit like we did with Arad more than twenty years ago. If the deal on the table was for us to pay in cash for Shalit's release, I would have a lot less problems with it. It's the part of about releasing 1,000-1,400 terrorists that has made a lot of Israelis say no. But $1 million in cash? I'd do that deal in a second. But Hamas isn't offering it.

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At 8:52 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

Yup. And neither are the Iranians.

A cash deal is less objectionable than setting highly trained terrorists free - but it looks like one with Gilad Shalit isn't in the cards for the foreseeable future.

At 9:44 AM, Blogger Batya said...

easy to say now
Who knows the truth?

At 2:02 AM, Blogger Juniper in the Desert said...

Implant all the terrorists the Iranians want freed, with gps chips, let them be swapped for Gilad, then hunt them down and terminate them! :)


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