I’ve mentioned this before, but only in passing:
Defense Minister Ehud Barak on Thursday said that Operation Cast Lead in the Gaza Strip has increased the chances for reaching a deal that will bring about the release of captive soldier Gilad Schalit in the near future… [my emphasis]
Despite his assessment that a deal could be reached shortly, Barak said that “Jerusalem, but not only Jerusalem, will have to make difficult decisions” in order to bring about Schalit’s release from captivity. — Jerusalem Post
Exactly why does he think this is true?
What bargaining points does Barak have today that he didn’t have before? Can he threaten an invasion if Schalit is not released? No, because everyone knows that Mr. Obama will not permit it. Can he threaten to have Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh killed? No, because everyone knows that if he wasn’t targeted during the war, Israel must want him alive.
How, exactly, did the war strengthen Israel’s hand? So Hamas now knows that the IDF can kick its butt — it also knows that it will not be allowed to do so.
We are back to arguing over how many murderers need to be released in order to get a hostage back.
Thirteen Israeli soldiers will not be coming back, no matter what.
- Hamas still controls Gaza.
- Hamas still has the ability to fire rockets at Israel.
- Hamas is still receiving supplies through undamaged parts of the Sinai Subway, as work to repair collapsed tunnels continues apace.
- 90% of the literate world (and all of the illiterate) is convinced that Israel is a bloody murderer of women and children, despite the fact that this is false and that for once Israel’s PR mechanisms functioned well — they were just overwhelmed.
- Schalit is still a hostage. The only hope is that the IDF acquired intelligence in Gaza that will make an operation to rescue him possible. But as time passes, this becomes more and more unlikely.
Speaking of arms smuggling, here’s what Gen. Giora Eiland told the Jerusalem Post about that:
To be polite, the Egyptians are telling us stories and we are deluding ourselves. Egypt was not effective in the past. It doesn’t care about weapons in Gaza.
The smuggling tunnel apparatus also features drugs and televisions and mobile phones, and keeps whole tribes in business. So either Egypt has to truly confront this whole industry or pay off the smugglers. And I’m not sure it’s going to do that.
As for the dramatic signing of an agreement between Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and the previous secretary of state Condoleezza Rice, intended to stop the smuggling, well, without being rude, it’s not serious and it’s not significant. [my emphasis]
So why did Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni fly to Washington last week?
AP video of Hamas rebuilding Sinai Subway