“There Will Be More Abductions” – An Addendum


In most respects, my brilliant, witty small-d colleague and I agree on the matter of prisoner swaps between Israel and her kidnapping antagonists. Despite his insatiable penchant for Jose Cuervo, he makes remarkably good sense in his rejoinder below.

On the small matters with which he has a quibble, I take most of the blame. My post was written in such a way so as to, unwittingly, open myself up to his critique. So let me clarify a bit and then, more importantly, move on to the larger issue at hand.

So yes, when considered in a vacuum there is no coherent argument to be made that Hezbollah’s decision to attack an IDF post last night in and of itself vindicates Olmert’s two-week long intransigence on the issue of a prisoner swap with Hamas. My point, which I did not make clearly, is that Hezbollah’s actions reinforce the validity – indeed necessity – of Olmert’s position.

But I would not go so far as my better-blogging half. To the extent that there is no coherent argument to be made that the Hezbollah attack in and of itself vindicates the Olmert position, there is no good case to be made that Olmert’s position is to blame for the Hezbollah attack. My colleague hints at this suggestion, then hedges, and then explores an opposite possibility. At this point there is no evidence that Hezbollah hatched this brazen attack in the past few weeks as a show of solidarity, or to break Olmert’s back on the issue of prisoner swaps. Such a matter of conjecture is more or less pointless, because, as he rightly points out: “I don’t pretend to know the intricate workings of the Shiite fundamentalist mind.”

But on the larger point, on which I think we agree, a policy of acceeding to the demands of kidnappers is an invitation to more such kidnappings. And this rash of abductions in the past few weeks suggest that a tactic that has taken on broad appeal in Iraq may have been imported into Palestine. (Indeed, I cringe at the thought of the first Palestinian directed snuff film). Such was the possibility explored by an intrepid reporter for Der Spiegel who spent some time amongst the militants in Gaza and authored a very insightful dispatch.

For instance, meet Abd al-Salam, a mid-thirties militant who tools around the Strip in a white Fiat Uno. “There will be more of these kinds of abductions,” al-Salam warns with impudent bluster.” “You could say we’ve developed a new tactic.”

Feeding the beast by agreeing to the demands of men like Abd al-Salam will only elevate kidnapping as a popular, go-to weapon for the Palestinian elements that seem to haveno goal save making life as miserable as possible for their Palestinian brethren.

Explore posts in the same categories: Israel/Palestine

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