Saturday, July 01, 2006

Head Scratcher

I'm not sure what to think about this though. Israel threatens to eliminate Hamas terror boss if Shalit isn't returned safely.
ISRAEL last night threatened to assassinate Palestinian Prime Minister Ismael Haniyeh if Hamas militants did not release a captured Israeli soldier unharmed.
The unprecedented warning was delivered to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in a letter as Israel debated a deal offered by Hamas to free Corporal Gilad Shalit.

It came as Israeli military officials readied a second invasion force for a huge offensive into Gaza.

Hamas's Gaza-based political leaders, including Mr Haniyeh, had already gone into hiding.

But last night's direct threat to kill Mr Haniyeh, a democratically elected head of state, sharply raised the stakes.
I'd say that raises the bar considerably. And describing Haniyeh as an elected head of state raises some interesting questions that I've previously addressed.

The actions by Hamas to infiltrate the sovereign state of Israel, attack an Israeli checkpoint, kill two Israeli soldiers and kidnap a third (Gilad Shalit), constitutes an act of war. Israel's response is to engage in the war that Hamas has always claimed it was engaging in.

Shalit's kidnappers demand the release of more than 1,000 prisoners. Many of those are in prison for killing or injuring Israelis.

James Joyner thinks the Israeli move is stupid beyond words. Michael van der Galien at the Moderate Voice disagrees and further notes Mubarak's distancing himself from the Palestinian actions. So does Donald Sensing.

I think Allah is on to something when he says this is a political ploy.
It could be that Shalit is already dead and Israel knows it, and they’re putting the letter out to give themselves political cover to target Haniyeh (i.e., he had fair warning). If not, expect them to deny having sent the letter in the morning; confirming it would be tantamount to daring Hamas to kill him, which isn’t the most prudent move when dealing with a wacko jihadist honor/shame culture.

Expect some whining tomorrow from the usual suspects about Israel’s willingness to target a democratically elected leader, as though the legitimacy of terrorism depended upon its degree of popular acclaim. The Saudis might elect Osama if given the chance, but that wouldn’t stop us from putting his head on a stick. Or “shouldn’t,” I should probably say; this is Bush we’re talking about, after all.
It's a political ploy designed to show not only who's boss, but that Israel is more than willing to get as rough as the terrorists. If you target one Israeli, you've targeted them all. Israel responds by targeting the chief terrorist - saying since you continue targeting Israelis, we'll target you. The problem is that putting all this attention on Haniyeh means that he can now travel about more freely - and his public appearances will make him ever more defiant and cause the Palestinians to rally to his side.

Unintended consequences.

My Vast Right Wing Conspiracy doesn't buy the story, and hopes that Allah's take isn't accurate. Beth doesn't think the terrorists buy it either. In fact, she wonders why people keep saying that Haniyeh was democratically elected as though that makes a world of difference.

Haniyeh was, is, and will continue to be a terrorist leader - demanding the blood and destruction of Israel. He sends his minions to kill Israelis at every opportunity and has never been held to account for his actions.

Ed Morrissey notes the repeated hypocrisy on the part of Hamas. Haniyeh refuses to negotiate under fire? Since when? They demand Israel do so time and time again, so when Israel turns the tables, Hamas cries foul. Too bad. So sad. Emperor Darth Misha concurs. In fact, he sees that Israel is getting it the same way the Russians get it following the slaughter of their diplomats in Iraq at the hands of Islamic terrorists:
And while we’re on the subject of governments that “get it”, are we the only Evil Imperial Right Wing Death Beast that got the warm fuzzy-wuzzies when Vladimir Putin reacted to the news of the murder of five of their diplomats at the hands of terrorists by saying that they were going to “use all available resources to hunt down and destroy those responsible?”

Please understand that when a Russian president says things like that, it’s not just a vapid, feel-good “bring the perpetrators to justice” message. When Russian presidents say stuff like that, it’s a direct order, and whoever they’re talking about tend to start suffering strange “accidents” shortly thereafter. Strange, painful and terminal “accidents.”
Big Lizards has a thoughtful post wondering why it took so long for Israel to finally act - what was it about Shalit's capture that resulted in the kinds of actions we're seeing from Israel. Well, for starters, it wasn't just Shalit's capture - it was the invasion of Israel by Hamas, the terrorist cum goverment of the Palestinians. It was the murder of two Israeli soldiers in the same incident where Shalit was captured. It was the further kidnap and murder of Eliyahu Ashri. Yet, his point holds - this time things are different.

Others blogging: Carl in Jerusalem, Flopping Aces, Blue Crab Boulevard, and Small Town Veteran.

Palestinian officials say that Shalit is wounded, but in stable condition.
The official, Ziad Abu Ein, the deputy minister for prisoners for Palestinians, spoke at a news conference in Ramallah in the West Bank.

"He has three wounds, I guess shrapnel wounds," Mr. Abu Ein said of the soldier, Cpl. Gilad Shalit, whose capture by Palestinian militants last Sunday spawned the current crisis. "He is fine now."
The Times needs a fact check - the current crisis started when Palestinian terrorists invaded Israel via a 300 foot long tunnel, attacked an Israeli checkpoint killing two Israeli soldiers, and captured the third - Gilad Shalit.

But I digress. The New York Times then reports that the Gazans are adapting to the current situation. Yeah, I see that they're adopting just fine - especially as the Karni crossing has been reopened for four days by the Israelis. 150 trucks a day will be able to cross in.

And yet all the discomfort experienced by the Palestinians in coming days can be avoided with one simple gesture - release Shalit.

You see, it really isn't that difficult. Hamas releases Shalit, and Israel can't act against them. Hamas would regain the initiative, but the terrorist group needs something in return beyond the fact that they've already succeeded in invading Israel, killing two soldiers, kidnapping a third, and pushing the region to the brink of an open shooting war.

President Bush has commented that Shalit's release would end the current crisis.

None of this has stopped Israel from continuing its offensive against the terrorists. The IAF launched an airstrike against Haniyeh's office in Gaza. Also, Israeli tanks are on the move in northern Gaza.

Meanwhile, Pamela at Atlas Shrugs went to a pro-Palestinian anti-Israel rally in NYC. Let's just say Pamela's a tough cookie and the video portions are not to be missed.

Did I forget to mention that Palestinian terrorists are still firing rockets and missiles into Israel. These are severely underreported in Western media outside Israel because if folks realized that Israel has been extremely patient beyond all means with the incessant rocket attacks, they might actually understand why Israel has finally had enough with Hamas and the other Palestinian terrorists.

Israel is hoping that the US could lean on Syria to exert more pressure to get Shalit released. I don't know how well that will work, but Hamas gets support from Damascus and letting Assad know in no uncertain terms that he might be held responsible might (and I know that's real remote, but stranger things have happened) change his stance.

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