Friday, August 14, 2009
.... to make the handling of the Shalit case the rule instead of just another in a series of exceptions
Dr. Aaron Lerner
Date: 13 August 2009
Today we got a reminder that there's no guaranty that Gilad Shalit will be the last kidnapped Israeli that the Jewish State is going to have to cope with.
Thankfully it appears that the roadblocks today were unnecessary as the IDF reports this evening that they have accounted for all the soldiers in transit.
But the point remains.
There are many in Israel arguing that "next time" we will apply different standards and handle the situation more intelligently but this time we should take a pass on rational thinking and let emotions get the best of us.
But the same logic - or lack thereof - that applies to Shalit because he has a name, a face and a family, will apply the next time as well. We are now in the incredibly reckless situation that we have apparently accepted being clueless if Shalit is alive and are prepared to cut a deal that won't be contingent on his being alive.
Which means that terrorists don't have to make keeping hostages alive a top priority.
You may want to argue that there will always be hostage taking regardless of how tough Israel is in its negotiations with Hamas. But how future terrorists treat or don't treat the hostages they take will most certainly be influenced by how this plays out.
Granted, there is a fall back position that says that if Hamas delivers Shalit in a casket to the Egyptians that we will promptly dispatch the leadership of Hamas to Paradise - regardless of who is in the building with them when the news comes in. And while such a response might secretly be welcomed by Fatah it's quite a stretch to think that President Obama will go for it. And if a phone call came from the White House urging restraint, one wonders just how far Netanyahu and Barak would go on what our critics would term "senseless bloodletting that only contributes to the cycle of
The next hostage taking situation for setting policy isn't the kidnapping that has yet to take place.
It's the one going on now.
Prime Minister Netanyahu enjoys the tremendous advantage of having a six man inner cabinet that meets regularly to discuss policy in great depth.
It's still not too late for the sextet to make the handling of the Shalit case the rule instead of just another in a series of exceptions.
Related: Why Isn't Gilad Shalit Home Yet?