Monday, June 26, 2006


Israeli Soldier Taken Hostage

I have not written much about the kidnapping, by Hamas, of IDF Corporal Gilad Shalit, nor do I intend to write much now. I, like a great many other people, am waiting to see what will happen next.

A few things are clear, though. The Palestinians have succeeded in finding a blind spot of the IDF: apparently, no one was expecting terrorists to tunnel under the Gaza border, surface near an Israeli town, and mount an attack. The terrorists were bold, in that they took the unusual step of kidnapping an Israeli hostage; this would seem to have the support of Hamas, which currently governs the Palestinian Authority, given that Hamas has signed on to the demands.

Israel, for her part, has made it clear that hostage exchanges are not a possibility, but that military action is. Given Israel's longstanding tradition of going to all lengths to recover her people from enemy hands, alive or dead, we can expect Israel to make good on that.

And today, June 26th, was to be the day of the Palestinian referendum, which Mahmoud Abbas wanted to use as a means of keeping some influence after losing the election to Hamas. But with Israeli troops already in Gaza, as a response to the kidnapping, passage of the referendum seems unlikely. (Not that the referendum was all that wonderful anyway.) Presumably, this was the intent of the hostage-takers in the first place.

Stay tuned. Hamas has thrown down the gauntlet at Israel; this could get ugly.

UPDATE: Roger Simon is detached enough to view the whole thing more dispassionately than I can manage:
I am afraid the Palestinians have lived so long in a state of rage and paranoia that peace would give them a nervous breakdown.

Imagine what would happen in the highly unlikely possibility that their leadership said let's forget Israel and concentrate on building a successful society of our own. Very few people would know what to do. Their entire culture has been constructed around blaming the other.

Witness the pure insanity of yesterday's incursion north of Gaza. According to Haaretz, Mahmoud Abbas has washed his hands of the whole affair and told the Hamas leadership they will have to deal with their own lunatics who have decided this was the time to kidnap an Israeli soldier (for the sake of
what?). The Hamas leaders' response, according to the same article, is to go into hiding, fearing for their lives (they should). What the Palestinians need more than anything is an influx of about 100,000 psychotherapists.
I could live with that. But I think they need a responsible leadership first, one unwilling to engage in rabble-rousing for political advantage. And I don't think they're likely to get that, short of an all-out civil war -- one that would leave Palestinians heartily sick of all killing. Until then, there'll always be some misguided kid who thinks he can achieve glory by killing a few Jews... and is all too ready to denounce the peace-seekers as 'collaborators'.

UPDATE II: More links (and a depressing view of future prospects) here.

UPDATE III: My wife has a theory about this. As we know, Israel evacuated all Jews from the Gaza Strip last summer. Clearly, the Palestinians of Gaza miss having Jews around... and so they're bringing them back, one by one, using the means most readily available to them.

I call on Hamas to deny this theory.


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