July 13, 2006

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We're hoping that Israel continues to vigorously defend herself and refuse negotiations with Hezbollah and Hamas for the kidnapped Israeli soldiers. In our cartoon "Non-negotiable" we celebrated such an aggressive response. But it should be remembered that the terrorists' tactics have worked for them in the past. A FoxNews article yesterday noted this fact in passing:

Israel has carried out several prisoner swaps with Hezbollah in the past to obtain freedom for captures Israelis. These include a January 2004 swap in which an Israeli civilian and the bodies of three Israeli soldiers were exchanged for 436 Arab prisoners and the bodies of 59 Lebanese fighters. In 1985, three Israeli soldiers captured in Lebanon in 1982 were traded for 1,150 Lebanese and Palestinian prisoners.

The Jewish Virtual Library has more on the issue: Israel-Hizbollah Prisoner Exchange (2004):

In exchange for the bodies of three Israeli soldiers, missing since October 2000, and one Israeli businessman, abducted in October 2000 under questionable circumstances, Israel released more than 430 Arab prisoners on January 29, 2004. Those released by Israel included 400 Palestinian prisoners who were released to the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Another 29 prisoners from Arab nations, and a German-citizen who worked with Hizbollah, were flown to Germany and then most went to Lebanon. In addition, the bodies of approximately 60 Lebanese terrorists were handed over to the International Committee of the Red Cross at the Israel-Lebanon border near Rosh Hanikra.

The prisoner exchange was the latest example of Israel's determination to bring its soldiers home, dead or alive. In 1985, Israel freed 1,150 prisoners in exchange for three Israeli soldiers kidnapped in Lebanon by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP)-General Command. Many of the Arabs who were freed became leaders in the first Palestinian intifada. ...

In the wake of the morning rush hour bus bombing in Jerusalem's upscale Rehavia neighborhood, some last minute voices were heard urging the government to stop the prisoner swap. MK Aryeh Eldad (National Union) told Maariv, "Yesterday this murderous organization promised us a 'surprise,' so we must stop the release of 400 terrorists before we discover that they've put us in a death trap." According to Dr. Shmuel Bar, a senior research fellow at the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya, the message this swap sends to the Palestinians is that "the only way in which anyone can succeed in freeing prisoners is Hezbollah's way of abducting Israeli soldiers and citizens We're going to be sorry for this."

The Intelligence & Terrorism Information Center has more information on Hezbollah's ongoing war against Israel.

UPDATE -- July 25: Hezbollah has reacted as we depicted in the cartoon. From AP: Hezbollah: Israeli onslaught a surprise.

A senior Hezbollah official said Tuesday the guerrillas did not expect Israel to react with an all-out offensive after the capture of two soldiers, the first acknowledgment by the group that it had miscalculated the consequences of the raid two weeks ago.

Mahmoud Komati, deputy chief of the Hezbollah's political arm, also told The Associated Press in an interview that the Shiite militant group will not lay down arms.

"The truth is let me say this clearly we didn't even expect (this) response ... that (Israel) would exploit this operation for this big war against us," said Komati.

He said Hezbollah had expected "the usual, limited response" from Israel after the two soldiers were seized by guerrillas on Israel's side of the border on July 12.

In the past, he said, Israeli responses to Hezbollah actions included sending commandos into Lebanon, seizing Hezbollah officials and briefly targeting specific strongholds in southern Lebanon.

Komati said his group had anticipated negotiations to swap the Israeli soldiers for three Lebanese held in Israeli jails, with Germany acting as a mediator as it has in past prisoner exchanges.

Posted by Forkum at July 13, 2006 05:03 PM
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