Prime Minister Ehud Olmert recently warned Hamas that if captured soldier Gilad Shalit is not released soon, Israel will take “various active measures.” Hamas has responded with the following threat: If Israel tries to rescue Shalit by force, Hamas will “kidnap more soldiers.”
That’s not much of a threat. Few things would have done more to save Olmert’s political viability than the successful rescue of Shalit; it is fair to assume that if the IDF hasn’t done it yet, it’s because they do not yet have a reliable plan for pulling it off. But more to the point: Few things would help prove Hamas is hurting Israel more than kidnapping more soldiers, and few things have been taken more seriously in the IDF in the last two years than the problem of protecting soldiers from being kidnapped. If Hamas hasn’t done it until now, it’s probably because (a) they can’t, and (b) they have seen how little it gained either them or Hizbullah in 2006. Both Olmert’s threat and Hamas’ threat seem pretty empty.