Human Conscience at the expense of strategic stupidity, or a major impending breakthrough in the workings? The Mystery of the "Release of Missing Israeli Captives"

Jun 30, 2008 Published under Iran, Israel, Lebanon, Middle East, Mideast Negotiations, Palestine, Syria

The Israeli Government has just announced its agreement to procure the "release" Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev, the two Israeli soldiers abducted by Hezbollah in the summer of 2006, in exchange for releasing several Lebanese prisoners including Samir Kuntar, the man who in 1979 murdered 3 Israelis in their home, including a 4-year old, and who caused the hiding mother to suffocate her 2-year-old daughter as she tried to quiet her crying.

What is the problem?

  • Sheikh Nasrallah ordered the attacks and incursions that brought about the Hezbollah-Israel war in 2006 with the stated goal of releasing Kuntar; Nasrallah outlined how he would capture Israeli soldiers to use as bargaining chips to bring about the release of Kuntar; now, 2 years after such devastating war and a month after having turned his guns on Lebanese people that supported the Lebanese government, he is being rewarded;
  • Goldwasser and Regev are apparently dead, so the Israeli government is inviting terrorists not just to try to capture Israeli soldiers, but to kill them if they so please, as Israel will be willing to exchange their bodies anyway, for precisely the objectives that terrorists wish to attain.

I feel horrible for the families that lost Ehud and Eldad. But besides the perverse and ominous incentives this deal creates, it is also going to turn Hezbollah’s Nasrallah from a formidable hero into a mythic legend in the eyes of many in the Arab world.

The timing is particularly regrettable because for the first time in 20+ years, Nasrallah had lost a little of his luster when he showed his color and attacked fellow Lebanese civilians.  This will restore his stature and more.

Unless there is a secret grand bargain in the making that, with Lebanese/Shaba farms, Syrian, and Palestinian negotiations will settle the Israeli-Arab conflict and distance Israel’s neighbors from Iran, today is as tragic a day for civil society as it is a cause for celebration for those who espouse violence as a tool for political leverage.

Below is the text of the Israeli government’s outline for the agreement on releasing the abducted soldiers in Lebanon:

1. The abducted soldiers Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev will be returned to Israel, a report on the disappearance of Ron Arad (in continuation of Government decision #978 from 9.11.03) will be delivered to Israel and remains from the Second Lebanon War will also be received.

In exchange for the return of the abducted soldiers, the State of Israel will release prisoners and detainees being held in its prison facilities, and will transfer bodies and information, as follows:

A. Prisoner Samir Kuntar and four illegal Lebanese fighters being held by Israel will be released to Lebanon.

B. The bodies of dozens of infiltrators and terrorists, including eight members of Hezbollah, will be delivered to Lebanon.

C. Information on the four missing Iranian diplomats will be delivered to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

D. Following the implementation of the deal, Palestinian prisoners will be released.  The number and identities of the prisoners will be determined at the sole discretion of the State of Israel.

2. Mr. Ofer Dekel, the official responsible for the negotiations on behalf of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, will continue the process of implementing the negotiations according to the principles detailed in this decision.

3. The Government will hold an additional discussion in order to complete and implement the agreement according to the principles detailed in this decision.

4. The Government of Israel reiterates and confirms its obligation to exhaust all that is required in order to obtain credible and solid information that will shed light on the fate of Israel Air Force navigator Capt. Ron Arad.

5. At the same time, the Government of Israel reiterates and confirms its commitment to continue acting for the release of Cpl. Gilad Shalit.

6. The Government of Israel will not slacken in its efforts to locate and bring home the missing and those Israeli soldiers whose resting place is unknown.

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  1. Jake said:

    I understand that it may not be politically the wisest thing to do in the short term, but I think it is noble beyond belief, to an extent that makes Israel actually come out looking stronger both externally and internally, where people appreciate this incredibly loyalty.

    Hizbullah can ask how Israel can possibly defend itself when even the bodies of the dead mean so much to it, but they will also be lost as to how they can hope to defeat a place so magnaminous. Its about operating a higher moral standard that makes you ostensibly more vulnerable but shows a unity and strength that no one else can even come close to.

    I’d like to think I’d do the same and think it may be the best thing in the long run. It obviously sets a scary precedent in the short term and if they can’t live up to the standards they set now it causes a problem, but they set these standards a long time ago and have stuck by them since.

  2. More Reflections on The Prisoner Release | Daniel Lubetzky said:

    [...] contrast to my blog entry criticizing the negotiations Israel carried out with Hezbollah to release the bodies of two slain Israeli soldiers in exchange for releasing several terrorists, here are some alternative perspectives from friends I [...]

  3. The Impact of The Olmert-Nasrallah Exchange | Daniel Lubetzky said:

    [...] already blogged about my instinctive misgivings with negotiating to exchange imprisoned terrorists for the bodies of fallen s…, as well as about the perspective from some Israelis on why it was the right thing to [...]

  4. commentsforchrist said:

    God gave us a conscience, hoping it would be influenced by His Word and developed to know the difference between right and wrong, and ultimately good and evil. While it is not God’s voice, it is a gift from God.

    ~”So I strive always to keep my conscience clear before God and man. ”
    (Act 24:16)

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