Bird’s Eye: More than a thousand prisoners, “murderers with blood on their hands” traded for one Israeli soldier? Why would Netanyahu make that deal? Why now? We have a few theories to share. We start with the Guardian, look at Bradley Burston in Haaretz, and end with the always excellent Uri Avnery.
* Gilad Shalit Release: Winners And Losers The Guardian
The agreement to release the captive Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit in exchange for 1,027 Palestinian prisoners is a dramatic story. But what is its wider significance? Why has it happened now? Who are the winners and losers? And what are the implications for the future of the Middle East’s most intractable conflict?
The deal is being claimed as a triumph by Hamas, the Islamist movement that controls Gaza and is anxious to bolster its position. Many commentators argue that the agreement was approved by Israel partly out of pique at the recent unilateral attempt by the Palestinian president,Mahmoud Abbas, to seek membership of the UN while peace talks with Israel are stalled.
* Bravo For These People, These Israelis Bradley Burston Haaretz
On the face of it, the exchange is preposterous, in some ways, borderline suicidal. On the face of it, agreeing with Hamas to the release of more than a thousand Palestinian prisoners, many of them to this day proud of having committed heinous murders of innocent people in premeditated acts of terrorism, makes little sense.
Israelis know that the exchange will bolster the recently flagging popularity of Hamas, in particular its more militant figures. It could seriously undermine Palestinian moderates, foster a return of large-scale terrorism, and deal a telling blow to the Palestinian Authority, in the process eroding the security of Israelis on both sides of the Green Line.
The deal to bring Gilad Shalit back to his family is painful to Israelis bereaved by terror. It is, by any measure, chillingly dangerous.
And it was the right thing to do.
* Uri Avnery on Gilad Shalit–the real story Tikkun Magazine
Journalists asked me if Binyamin Netanyahu had not been disturbed by the fact that the swap was bound to strengthen Hamas and deal a grievous blow to Mahmoud Abbas. They were flabbergasted by my answer: that this was one of its main purposes, if not the main one. The master stroke was a stroke against Abbas.
Abbas’ moves in the UN have profoundly disturbed our right-wing government. Even if the only practical outcome is a resolution of the General Assembly to recognize the State of Palestine as an observer state, it will be a major step towards a real Palestinian state…. For Netanyahu and Co. this is the real danger. Hamas poses no danger at all. What can they do? Launch a few rockets, kill a few people – so what? In no year has “terrorism” killed as many as half the people dying on our roads. Israel can deal with that. ….That, by the way, also explains the timing. Why did Netanyahu agree now to something he has violently opposed all his life? Because Abbas, the featherless chicken, has suddenly turned into an eagle.