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Jul 6, 2006

Negotiate a deal

I had an idea today I thought I would share with you. I am not completely against negotiating a deal with the terrorists. While I do feel it is wrong to negotiate, I do realize it has been done before and likely is the only method of getting Gilad Shalit back this time (dead or alive – Treppenwitz had a great post on this subject yesterday, take a look at it) is via negotiation.

That being said, I had an interesting idea. If we have to negotiate, it would be better to negotiate from a position of strength. They obviously recognize the value we place on human life and therefore have offered the 1000 to 1 exchange, showing us that an individual Jew is worth so many Arab lives. The problem is if we say yes, it will prompt them to take another hostage next week to secure the release of the next 1000 prisoners we are holding.

As a veiled threat they have begun waving the Ron Arad banner, saying if we do not negotiate quickly, Shalit could disappear like Ron Arad. This makes all us Israelis tremble, as if it happens it means we will never have closure or a conclusion to the situation. Now that they wave the Ron Arad banner, I would like to make my suggestion.

My suggestion is to include Ron Arad in the deal. And not just Ron Arad, but all the captives that are MIA – Yehuda Katz, Tzvi Feldman, Zachary Baumel, Guy Hever, Gilad Shalit, and Ron Arad. If Meshaal returns all these soldiers to us, whether it be in the form of their remains if they are dead (chas veshalom), or in the form of their living bodies, than we will release x number of soldiers (I do not care what number x represents. It could be 1000 for these 6 or 6000 for these 6 or 10000 for these 6, it does not matter).

That’s it. No more games. No more fooling around. Take the high ground. Offer them what they want, if they give us our 6 soldiers we will release x number of their people.

This will put Meshaal in a tight position. Does he have access to the other MIA’s? I do not know, but he threw Ron Arad’s name into the picture, so that means he must know something. If he needs to make it a multi-national effort to retrieve the other 5 soldiers and involve Syria, Iran and whomever else, so be it. Get to work Meshaal and make your contacts locate our soldiers.

And if Olmert won’t offer this deal, maybe Meshaal should.

It would work and there would be tremendous support for it. What Israeli would reject the deal knowing these soldiers have been captives for over 20 years with no end in sight?


  1. Rafi:

    1. I'm opposed to negotiating with terrorists, since it will just encourage them the next time around. (See my post about this from yesterday..in which Miriam Ahseri and Bibi Netanyahu both said that one shouldn't negotiate with them).

    2. In terms of the practicality of your idea -- Mashal has nothing to do with the other captured IDF soldiers, so he couldnt broker the deal even if he wanted to.


  2. 1. I too am opposed to negotiating. But since we will anyway sooner or later, and the precedent has already been set by Ariel Sharon negotiating for Tannenbaum (and I think it was done once before as well), and it is likely our only chance of retrieving him, I think this is a position of strength. Also it throws the ball back into Meshals court. It says we will negotiate and this is what we want - nothing less. All or nothing. Thisis a position of strength. Stick meshal in the corner.

    2. He might or might not. Nobody has any idea. But he raised Ron Arad's name.. he is highly connected and would have to earn his living. He would have to go to iran and Syria and work it out. Make him work for his bread.

  3. Here is an alternate negotiatio...

    destroy a street block of gaza, everything on the street gets levelled. Hamas has half an hour to return shalit. If he is not returned repeat every half hour.

  4. Dan - I like that and I proposed something similar (not in my blog - just in discussions with people face to face) the other day. When Hamas presented Israel with the ultimatum (at least Olmert had the balls to call their bluff) to free prisoners by 6 am or else. I suggested Israel present Hamas with an ultimatum - free Shalit by 3 pm (the day before) or we will kill the 1000 prisoners you wanted in return for him, or alternatively if that would be too morally repugnant, to destroy a neighborhood of Gaza with only half hour notice to get out. The problem would have been that they would have called our bluff because we never would have done that as almost all our threats over the past 3-5 years have never been backed up, and this would not have either. they would have called our bluff and the situation would have been worse..
    But I like your idea.

  5. Dan: Much better than that:

    Every day that we don't get him back, OR after every Qassam missile that hits Israel, we take over a new square kilomter of Gaza...to build yishuvim. Its much better to build than to destroy.

  6. Jameel - also a good idea, but it will never happen. The (current) Israeli government has no interest in resettling Gaza and nobody would take such a threat seriously.
    Also, who would trust the government to go back to resettle Gaza on the word of Olmert and Peretz and not realize that they will only be evacuated in a few months/weeks/years. Nobody would put themselves on the line like that, and the arabs would not fall for such an ultimatum.

  7. Rafi - I personally think that all of our missing soldiers are dead (including Gilad) and the terrorists are just blowing out hot air. When they negotiated for Tannenbaum's release we received dead bodies. Endangering live people in return for dead bodies is wrong - as painful as it is for the families involved. And we will never threaten to execute prisoners one by one - which the terrorists would love for us to do because it gives them good publicity. Jameel's idea is the best - I'm just not sure that it should be in Gaza.

  8. WBMama - I agree with you on that. However, being realistic and pragmatic, we all know that negotiations are happening (and as Romach pointed out in his blog non-negotiation is also a negotiating tactic) and will ultimately resolve the issue. The Gaza "offensive" is to increase pressure on hamas and try to a certain extent to stop the Kassams. Ultimately it is the negotiations that will do it, whether we like it or not. It has happened before and will happen again.

    That being said, I think we should force their hand and negotiate as I said in my post (once they decide negotiations are the way to go).

  9. "The problem is if we say yes, it will prompt them to take another hostage next week to secure the release of the next 1000 prisoners we are holding."

    That is the crux of the matter, and you have pointed to it yourself.

    "...than we will release x number of soldiers"

    Soldiers they definitely are not. Only Shalit is a soldier. Could have been a POW if Hamas were able to get rid of their terrorist mentality. Then it could have been different, and the exchange would have been possible. Now it is a pure blackmail over a kidnapped boy.

    "What Israeli would reject the deal knowing these soldiers have been captives for over 20 years with no end in sight?"

    The one whose unenviable job is to decide. Whatever you say about Olmert, you would not wish to replace him now. Or would you?

    Anyway, let's hope against reality that Gilead Shalit is alive and that there still is a chance that sanity (or the will of Hamas bandits to live) will prevail.

  10. Very best site. Keep working. Will return in the near future.


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