Commentary Magazine


Contentions

Re: Bad Deal Redux

You’re right, Emanuele. When Israel sent notorious murderer Samir Kuntar to Hezbollah for two dead soldiers in July, it all but guaranteed that the price for Gilad Shalit’s release would rise significantly. But Jerusalem’s apparent openness to dealing Hamas “more than one Kuntar” suggests something more fundamental: that Israel has entirely given up on short-term military options vis-à-vis Hamas, and is willing to accept defeat.

This is truly astounding. After all, Israel has never lost anything to Hamas–not diplomatically, and not militarily. Indeed, in stark contrast to the inconclusive 2006 Lebanon war that was perceived as a Hezbollah victory, Israel soundly defeated Hamas during the second Intifada: it assassinated its top leaders; hampered its movement of weapons and personnel throughout the occupied territories; and achieved meaningful international cooperation for countering Hamas’ fundraising capabilities. Even following Hamas’s victory in the 2006 Palestinian parliamentary elections, Israel mostly succeeded in pushing the west to boycott the Hamas government–a boycott that was only strengthened following Hamas’s June 2007 coup in Gaza.

Moreover, there’s also the issue of timing. Why would Israel prepare for such a painful prisoner swap now? Within the next week or so, Tzipi Livni will likely assume office as Israel’s next prime minister, and has promised to intensify peace efforts with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Naturally, giving Hamas “more than one Kuntar” in exchange for Shalit would be a disaster for these already improbable negotiations, as Hamas would be significantly strengthened.

At the time of Israel’s most recent prisoner swap with Hezbollah, Daniel Gordis offered the deal’s most eloquent defense: in Israel–where every young adult serves in the military–costly prisoner swaps critically reinforce soldiers’ confidence, and are thus worthwhile “mistakes.” However, this logic cannot apply to Israel’s dealings with Hamas, even when a living soldier–as opposed to two bodies–remains in captivity. As Iran and Hezbollah have intensified their threats towards Israel in recent weeks, it is impossible to see how handing a victory to Hamas–an otherwise losing organization–would strengthen Israelis’ resolve.


Join the discussion…

Are you a subscriber? Log in to comment »

Not a subscriber? Join the discussion today, subscribe to Commentary »





Welcome to Commentary Magazine.
We hope you enjoy your visit.
As a visitor to our site, you are allowed 8 free articles this month.
This is your first of 8 free articles.

If you are already a digital subscriber, log in here »

Print subscriber? For free access to the website and iPad, register here »

To subscribe, click here to see our subscription offers »

Please note this is an advertisement skip this ad
Clearly, you have a passion for ideas.
Subscribe today for unlimited digital access to the publication that shapes the minds of the people who shape our world.
Get for just
YOU HAVE READ OF 8 FREE ARTICLES THIS MONTH.
FOR JUST
YOU HAVE READ OF 8 FREE ARTICLES THIS MONTH.
FOR JUST
Welcome to Commentary Magazine.
We hope you enjoy your visit.
As a visitor, you are allowed 8 free articles.
This is your first article.
You have read of 8 free articles this month.
YOU HAVE READ 8 OF 8
FREE ARTICLES THIS MONTH.
for full access to
CommentaryMagazine.com
INCLUDES FULL ACCESS TO:
Digital subscriber?
Print subscriber? Get free access »
Call to subscribe: 1-800-829-6270
You can also subscribe
on your computer at
CommentaryMagazine.com.
LOG IN WITH YOUR
COMMENTARY MAGAZINE ID
Don't have a CommentaryMagazine.com log in?
CREATE A COMMENTARY
LOG IN ID
Enter you email address and password below. A confirmation email will be sent to the email address that you provide.