Powered by WebAds

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Why the IDF didn't rescue Gilad Shalit?

If you read the previous post, you already know that I spent Sunday at an amusement/water park with Mrs. Carl and the six youngest kids. For the record, that basically means that I was the driver and the custodian of our 'stuff.' There was one ride - maybe two - in the whole place that was suitable for adults. And neither Mrs. Carl nor I were going on it. Mrs. Carl went swimming with the two daughters, but I delegated taking the three little boys swimming to son # 2 (age 23). I thought it would be too cool for swimming and didn't particularly feel like going. No matter. In a closed amusement park in Israel, even the 7-year old was allowed to run around by himself. The lost children announcements all dealt with 2 and 3-year olds (really!).

In any event, because I was limited to Twitter on Sunday, I almost missed an important article in Haaretz which was blogged by Jonathan Tobin (those who read my Twitter feed may have seen this retweeted already - hint, hint). I have written many times on this blog that the rumor here in Israel was that the IDF never tried to rescue Gilad Shalit because his family was staunchly opposed to any rescue attempt fearing what happened to Nachshon Wachsman HY"D (May God Avenge his blood). Actually, as Tobin points out, it's worse than that. The IDF totally abdicated responsibility - and ought to have to answer for it.
But an article in today’s Haaretz offers at least a partial answer to a question many friends of Israel have been wondering about in the days since the announcement of the deal with Hamas to free Gilad Shalit: Why was the Israel Defense Forces unable to rescue him at any point during his more than five years of captivity?

According to Ronen Cohen, a recently retired colonel in Israel’s military intelligence, “The IDF never took responsibility for the soldier and did not even set up a team to deal with bringing him back. They simply passed it on to the Shin Bet [security service].”

Cohen said the IDF had “partial intelligence” about Shalit at one point but that this information ceased to be relevant in December 2008 when Operation Cast Lead — Israel’s counter-attack against Palestinian missile fire from Gaza — took place.

It should be specified that cracking Hamas’ Gaza stronghold is a challenge that would daunt any military strategist. The densely packed area is a warren of refugee housing that provides a plethora of places to hide weapons, personnel and captives. It is entirely possible if not likely any rescue operation would have resulted in Shalit’s death as well as the deaths of many of the soldiers sent to rescue him.

Nevertheless, the fact that the IDF never set up a unit or operational group specifically tasked with the Shalit problem is troubling. Perhaps the chain of command mandated that, as Cohen says, once Shalit was kidnapped he became the responsibility of the intelligence services. But the result of this failure to prepare or work on this critical situation was made clear when, as Cohen also points out, Israel failed to take advantage of the chaos in Gaza during Cast Lead to try to rescue Shalit.
Gee, that would explain this, wouldn't it?

Read the whole thing. The IDF would undoubtedly defend itself by placing the blame on the two previous chiefs of staff - Dan Halutz (2006-08) and Gabi Ashkenazi (2008-11). But that's not an answer. Did the IDF reevaluate the standing orders regarding Shalit when Halutz resigned? When Ashkenazi wasn't reappointed? If not, why not?

Labels: , , , , ,


At 7:58 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

It does highlight the fact the IDF never prepared plans to find and rescue Shalit. Israel's default plan for the past five years was to offer to surrender to his kidnappers. As far as we know, no other alternative plan to secure Shalit's freedom was ever seriously considered by the Israeli government.

It never put any other options in this entire sordid affair on the table. A fact which ought to make the Jewish nation hang its head in shame.

At 6:47 AM, Blogger grim said...

I read a rumor (only a rumor - at this point) that Gilad was not held in Gaza.

At 6:47 AM, Blogger grim said...

There is a rumor circulating that Gilad wasn't kept in Gaza.


Post a Comment

<< Home