Wednesday, March 12, 2008

An Immoral Calculus: “It Costed Too Much”

Gilad ShalitIt appears that the logjam Hamas created in its capture of IDF soldier Gilad Shalit back in August 2006, may be breaking up.

Corporal Shalit was wounded in the encounter initiated by Hamas in Israeli territory. Two other IDF soldiers were killed when Shalit was taken hostage, as were two Palestinians.

Since then there have been attempted interventions by just about everyone: the American Secretary of State, the French (Shalit holds French and Israeli citizenship), the Papal Nuncio to Israel, and Egypt. [There has been no word from the UN, but it is public knowledge that Turtle Bay holds the state of Israel in special contempt.]

In the interim since his capture Corporal Shalit has had two birthdays; he is now twenty-one. According to his captors, he is alive, well, and available for hostage negotiations:

On 25 June, 2007, the Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem issued a statement that “International humanitarian law absolutely prohibits taking and holding a person by force in order to compel the enemy to meet certain demands” and thus is considered by them a war crime. A war crime determination would need to be made by an affirmative decision of the United Nations Security Council, or a judicial tribunal appointed by it. Israel has not requested that the Security Council consider if a war crime is involved.

Asking the Security Council to make such a ruling would be like spitting into the wind. Why bother? In fact, had the UN existed at the time of Hitler’s attempt at a Final Solution, there would be no Jews left by now. And it may be the case that they will finally be annihilated during the 21st century, the beginning of the third millennium of what was once designated “the year of Our Lord.”

War crime or not, Hamas has some “requests”:
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It wants the Palestinian women and any person under the age of 18 currently held by Israel to be released. It also has a list of high-ranking Palestinians to be let go also. This gives you some idea of the value of persons: one soldier for 1,300 Palestinians. That is a twisted moral calculus in the best of circumstances. Hamas is blind to such accountings, however.

What started me on this post was a tip from Insubria…a short news clip I found in our email that recalled again the situation of Corporal Shalit. Normally, I avoid pondering these seemingly endless and fruitless rounds of publicity-seeking by Hamas. Their stories and claims are like twisted, sadistic fairy tales.

Here is the clip:

The capture of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit by Hamas in June 2006 “costed the Palestinian people too much”, the Jordanian media quoted Palestinian National Authority (PNA) President Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) as saying today. According to Abbas, “this Israeli soldier has cost the Palestinian people more than 1,000 martyrs and this number will increase as the launch of (Hamas) rockets against Israel continue”. Israeli corporal Gilad Shalit was captured by Palestinian militants on June 25, 2006 near the border between Israel and the Gaza Strip. Since last February 27, a total of 135 Palestinians, including many civilians, have been killed in Israeli military operations in the Strip, which is under Hamas control since June 2007.

Abbas has his own reasons for criticizing Hamas, which all of you know too well for me to bother enumerating. What I want to point out is the possibility of a learning moment for Mahmoud Abbas: [t]he capture of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit by Hamas in June 2006 “costed the Palestinian people too much.”

Well, duh. So have many of Hamas’ actions “costed too much.” Except Hamas finds the Palestinians expendable. So a few thousand die here and there. Indifference to your own collateral damage, thy name is Hamas.

The Media Line gives one version of many stories in the Middle East about the current state of affairs:

Hamas, the de facto ruler of Gaza, has agreed on a cease-fire with Israel proposed by Egypt, sources close to the Islamic group confirmed.

According to the deal, Hamas agreed to stop firing rockets from the territory in return for Israeli cessation of air raids and refraining from targeting the group’s top leaders in Gaza.

“There are intensive talks and contacts being carried out by the Egyptian brothers to reach a cease-fire deal,” Fawzi Barhoum, Hamas’ spokesman in Gaza told The Media Line.

He said that Hamas backed all efforts to stop the Israeli aggression and end the siege on Gaza, “and this is always our position,” he added.

Fearing further escalation in Gaza, Egypt is trying to mediate a comprehensive truce in which Gaza factions stop firing rockets, Israeli forces stop air strikes and ground operations and Gaza’s crossings with Israel and Egypt are reopened to commercial and pedestrian traffic.

The initiative, encouraged by the United States, also includes concluding the prisoner swap deal, whereby Israel will free hundreds of Palestinian prisoners in return for its captive soldier Gilad Shalit.

However, Egypt’s main concern at this stage, the source said, is the ceasefire with Israel.

According to the source, Hamas stipulated that Egypt guarantees protection for Hamas’ leaders before ceasefire. They also preferred that the cease-fire be under international supervision.

The source also revealed that US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice exerted pressure on Israel to practice self-restraint while Egypt exerted pressure on Hamas for the same purpose. The source also stated that Islamic Jihad and other Palestinian factions did not oppose the proposed ceasefire.

According to the sources, Hamas also accepted reopening Rafah terminal, the only Gaza gateway to the outside world, according to the 2005 agreement among Israel, the Palestinian Authority and Egypt.

In other developments, P.A. Chairman Mahmoud ‘Abbas revealed last night that Israel was close to reaching an informal cease-fire with Hamas.

“I think the Israelis have agreed upon this, that this is the deal which we may hear about in the next few days,” Abbas said in Jordan, where he was meeting with King Abdullah.

Meanwhile, Israeli officials have publicly denied any formal deal or even talks with Hamas.

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said: “There is no agreement. There are no negotiations, not directly and not indirectly.”

“We don’t know if Egypt reached any agreement with Hamas. In any case, it hasn’t received a mandate from us to do so.”

Whatever. If the negotiations end with the release of Corporal Gilad Shalit, there will be one rejoicing family at his hospital bed.

Meanwhile we will wait to see how many Palestinians released equal the freedom of one IDF soldier. It is an immoral calculation, but that is how Hamas plays their depraved games.

6 comments:

Zenster said...

one soldier for 1,300 Palestinians

Hokay, is anyone else more than a little fed up with this nonsense?

Anybody insane enough to even suggest such utter rubbish needs to be capped on the spot. Merely allowing cretins who make such absurd demands to walk away alive is a victory for them.

"For us to return Gilad Shalit, you must release one thousand ..."

[KAPOW!]

THUD!

"For the video tape of Ron Arad you must release child-killer Samir Ku ..."

[BLAMMO!]

THUD!

"You must restore all power and fuel to Gaza before we stop the rocket laun ..."

[BANGITY-BANG]

THUD!

Even if it didn't solve the larger problem, killing these ridiculous mediators outright would certainly reduce the inventory of such brazen and murderous scoundrels.

We won't even go into the implications of how a single Israeli soldier represents the cumulative worth of over one thousand Palestinian vermin.

Derailed Cluetrain said...

Well, it could be useful. See, the Palestinians have just set their standard for the relative worth of Israeli and Palestinian lives.

So, according to their own standard, as long as Israel kills no more than 1300 Palestinians for every Israeli killed, it is actually *drumroll* a proportionate response.

Great, no?

That makes the Palestinians have a debt of 10400 to pay for the 8 killed in the latest terrorist strike in Jerusalem.

kenprice said...

What is really worrying Hamas is Israel going after its leaders. Continuing to take out these people and the survivors will (finally) understand that there is a price to be paid by continuing to launch rockets at Israel, and that they will pay that price.

David M said...

The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the - Web Reconnaissance for 03/12/2008 A short recon of what’s out there that might draw your attention, updated throughout the day...so check back often.

laine said...

This kind of heavily imbalanced negotiation (one for you, 1300 for me....) merely prolongs hostilities by rewarding Hamas for its intransigence instead of making it pay.

Everyone else should stay out of it and join the Useless Nations for latte while Israel continues to exterminate Hamas leadership to the point that whoever is left standing on the Palestinian side gives up Shalit just to save his own single worthless hide.

How can someone as ignorant as Condoleeza Rice become Secretary of State? Was that another affirmative action appointment? How can she go dabbling in the Mid-East not knowing anything about Arab culture, its intractable anti-semitism, its shame culture and strong horse/weak horse mentality? OK, the State Department is full of the duplicitous, but can she not READ? something other than what's recommended by Foggy Bottom?

As soon as she became a State Department puppet parroting their failed two state policy, she should have been replaced by John Bolton, whom Arabs hate but respect. They have no respect for women, blacks or the arts, so Rice as a female black concert pianist is at a triple disadvantage. Anyone of integrity who spent a week learning about the problem would have gone back to the President and reported that she was not the best choice for the assignment, that the Arabs are not the Democrat party, starry-eyed at dealing with a black or a woman in power.

Zenster said...

laine said: This kind of heavily imbalanced negotiation (one for you, 1300 for me....) merely prolongs hostilities by rewarding Hamas for its intransigence instead of making it pay.

Really well put compared to my own melodramatic vignette. Israel's relenting to such outrageous nonsense goes beyond the usual rewarding of terrorism. It empowers these thugs to further overstep such boundaries and successively ratchet up the intensity. The point was discussed at Belmont Club with respect to "proportionality", in how the terrorists always try to keep one step shy of whatever sort of atrocity would trigger a truly devastating response.

By already having exchanged hundreds of Palestinian terrorists for just one or two captive Israeli soldiers, this abuse of process has been normalized. Israel's only response should be the relentless killing of all top echelon Hamas leadership until Shalit is released and not stop until it happens.

This is a micro-scale model of what the West must also do regarding Islamic terrorism. Simply kill all those who profit most from it until the prime movers lose interest in propagating something that puts their lives so dreadfully at risk.

Any detective will tell you to "follow the money". This is the case with terrorism. While seemingly theological in nature, Islamic terrorism is just as much, if not more, driven by those who increase their political power or financial gain. It is these individuals that must be removed from the chess board. An opponent rarely wins with pawns alone.