June 29, 2008

Olmert On a Nutshell: Yesterday's Dead Outweigh Tomorrow's Victims

Hatched by Dafydd

In a "prisoner" swap stunning in its pointlessness and inhumanity, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and his cabinet have agreed to release several live terrorists -- including a notorious Lebanese killer of Jews, whose crimes include one of the most horrific murders of the long Palestinian war against Israel -- in exchange for the bodies of two dead Israeli soldiers:

Israel’s government voted on Sunday to trade one of the most notorious convicts in its prisons, a Lebanese murderer, for the bodies of two Israeli soldiers whose cross-border capture led to and partly motivated its month-long war with the Lebanese militia Hezbollah in the summer of 2006.

After a wrenching national debate which served to drive hesitant officials, including Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Defense Minister Ehud Barak, into accepting the deal, the cabinet voted 22 to 3 to trade the prisoner, Samir Kuntar, along with four other Lebanese, for Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev, the two Israeli soldiers....

Mr. Kuntar was part of a cell that in 1979 raided the northern Israeli town of Nahariya, shooting dead Danny Haran while his daughter Einat, 4, watched, then smashing the girl’s head, killing her as well. Mr. Haran’s wife, Smadar, hid with their 2-year-old daughter and accidentally suffocated her to death in an effort to stop her from crying out.

Thus, Olmert signals that he is willing to sacrifice future generations of Israeli Jews in order to comfort the families of the dead.

While I understand the anguish that must enshroud those families, as much as can a person who has not personally experienced such tragedy, I have enough clarity of mind to realize that, as important as it is to retrieve the remains for proper burial, it's far more important to protect future innocent lives.

Goldwasser and Regev were captured alive; the terrorists bestially butchered them, even while they continued negotiating with Israel for their "release." The negotiation by Hezbollah was a farce of utter mendacity, and Olmert now insures that this pattern will happen again and again: Terrorists now have a green light to kill their cake and sell it, too.

This deal is a perscription for disaster; make no mistake, by releasing Kuntar and the other Palestinian terrorists, Olmert has made the world a more dangerous place:

  • Olmert and his coalition have condemned an indeterminate number of innocent Israelis to death; Kuntar and his fellow butchers will see their release as a reward from Allah, and they will instantly dive into yet another murderous plot, and another and another.
  • The Olmert government has prolonged the war with Iran and its proxies; the release will embolden Hamas and Hezbollah, and through them Iran, giving them heart to redouble their efforts to "cancel" the "Zionist project."
  • The deal has handed a huge propaganda and morale coup to Hamas and Hezbollah, while endangering America and the West; the rest of the Moslem world will once again start to see radical Islamic terrorism as the "strong horse;" Israel will be weakened in the eyes of the world; it will be so much harder for the West to sustain the fight, knowing that we no longer have a reliable ally in Israel.
  • And Olmert and his cabinet have declared open season on capturing or kidnapping Israeli soldiers and civilians, even making bodysnatching into a viable Palestinian military strategy: The more dead Israelis Iran's puppets hold, the more of their most brutal and effective terrorist serial killers the Israelis will release. Hamas now understand that they can kill their own prisoner, Gilad Shalit, knowing his death will not diminish his value in trade.

Even the Israeli government seems to realize that this deal is a dreadful mistake that they will never be able to justify to Israelis:

“Despite all hesitations, after weighing the pros and the cons, I support the agreement,” Mr. Olmert was quoted by his spokesman as telling his cabinet at the start of the meeting. “Our initial theory was that the soldiers were alive... Now we know with certainty there is no chance that that is the case.” He added, “There will be much sadness in Israel, much humiliation considering the celebrations that will be held on the other side.”

So why did he accept it? Very simply, he hadn't even enough spine to stand up to the families of Goldwasser and Regev.

Olmert hadn't enough courage to look the families in the eye and say, "I feel your loss, as I feel the losses of all the men who died during the war in 2006. But we cannot jeopardize everything that Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev fought and died for. Of all people in the world, those two brave heroes would not have asked what you are asking, and they would never have accepted such a trade. I'm sorry."

The celebrations will be boisterous and sustained in Gaza City... and in Ramallah, Beirut, Damascus, and Tehran. Palestinians and Israelis alike will see this as capitulation by Israel. More attacks will follow, more rockets and greater destruction will rain down upon Sderot and other cities.

It's hard to imagine a stupider and more self-destructive strategy; if Iran threatens to desecrate and cremate the bodies of Israeli soldiers, will Olmert agree not to attack Iran's nuclear facilities? Is that all it takes to ensure a nuclear-armed Iran? If he has insufficient courage to say No to the Goldwasser and Regev families, has he even a prayer of standing up to Hassan Nasrallah, Mahmoud Zahar, Bashar Assad, or Mahmoud Ahmadinejad?

Perhaps Ehud Olmert can make things better by proclaiming that by trading a half-dozen live terrorist murderers, hands still dripping blood, for two dead Israeli soldiers, he has secured "peace in our time." Though I doubt this peace will last as long as did the Munich Agreement of 1938.

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, June 29, 2008, at the time of 4:54 PM

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The following hissed in response by: hunter

The implosion occurring in Israel is nearly Biblical in scope. The current leadership, like corrupt Kings of old, are ignoring the common sense and effective advice of those who truly understand the risks of the region.
I am afraid Israel, fat, happy, affluent and distracted, will pay a monstrous price before this is resolved.

The above hissed in response by: hunter [TypeKey Profile Page] at June 29, 2008 5:38 PM

The following hissed in response by: Dan Kauffman

I remember reading once about a tribe whose responce to any member being captured and held hostage, was to have a funeral and then avenge their death,

They did not have too many hostage problems

The above hissed in response by: Dan Kauffman [TypeKey Profile Page] at June 29, 2008 11:11 PM

The following hissed in response by: MikeR

Dafydd, take a look at the story of Rabbi Meir of Rothenburg, leader of Ashkenazi Jewry in the Middle Ages. He died in a dungeon because he refused to allow himself to be ransomed, lest anti-Semites make it a practice to capture and ransom rabbis.

The above hissed in response by: MikeR [TypeKey Profile Page] at June 30, 2008 7:15 AM

The following hissed in response by: MikeR

Dafydd, you haven't posted yet on the current Gaza situation, but I expect you will. As an Israel supporter, I find it pretty depressing.

Roughly speaking, it seems to me that Israel is trapped between two imperatives: (1) Defend themselves against an adversary that wants to destroy them, and 2) imitate America.

I'm not interested in debating (1). Maybe someone else can go through the history and decide "who's right"; I have my own strong opinions. But it's irrelevant. A sovereign nation defends itself against attack, and they have been under attack.

(2) is what cripples them. The United States fights wars at a distance, without American civilians being directly threatened. We pursue "strategic goals". As such, we are able to have rules like "minimize collateral damage to civilians".

WWII was different. Our skills were smaller, and the enemy was relatively much more powerful. The US and the Allies destroyed enemy cities where they needed to.
Cold War? The civilian population of the Soviet Union was our hostage against them.

Were we right to do so? I think so. My country is not morally obligated to lose a war, with all that implies, in order to protect enemy civilians.

So the moral yardstick ought to be, What does Israel need to do to defend itself? I don't see any way it can prevent rocket attacks across the border, except this ultimatum:
a) You have thirty days to make the rocket attacks cease permanently, however you manage it. We will help you in this, if you want help. But it's your job, and now. If not:
b) We will stop the rocket attacks ourselves in the only way possible, by emptying that area of enemy civilians. We'll do that as humanely as possible, which isn't very. We'll destroy your ability to resist militarily, move in and move you out of there. We won't try occupying the area again; we tried that already and it didn't help. We won't pay for new housing for you; you have a month to dig up some country who will take you in. There won't be more rocket attacks from Gaza, because you won't be there to shoot them. We might even resettle the area, since you won't be in the way any more.

But Israel is now in the trap of comparing themselves to the US in Iraq. And politically all tied up in knots. So they won't do anything like this. Still, I think that friends of Israel ought to make our position clear: You have every right to empty your borders of enemies, if that's what you need to do. We would do the same, and we have.

The above hissed in response by: MikeR [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 1, 2009 11:31 AM

The following hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh


Dafydd, you haven't posted yet on the current Gaza situation, but I expect you will.

No, not likely; we have nothing to say that's any different from any other friend of Israel. We try only to post when we have something unique and original to offer; we're not a news commentary site like Power Line or Patterico's Pontifications

In this case, we certainly support what Israel is doing, but we're not yet sure they're doing enough. Since that's the position of nearly every anti-liberal I know (and even a few liberals), there's no point publishing a "me too" post.


The above hissed in response by: Dafydd ab Hugh [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 2, 2009 11:36 AM

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