Critics of Israel's lopsided prisoner exchange with Lebanese guerrillas said Wednesday that such deals only encourage more hostage-taking - a fear underscored by Gaza militants who said the swap proves that kidnapping is the only language Israel understands.
"What we've done now has made kidnapping soldiers the most profitable game in town," said Israeli security expert Martin Sherman. "There is absolutely no reason why Hezbollah should not invest huge resources now, along with Hamas, in the next kidnapping."
Note the sentiment here that it is a foregone conclusion that there will be more kidnappings. Referring to an Israeli solidier currently being held by Hamas militants in the Gaza strip, Construction Minister Zeev Boim says
"No one should be surprised if Hamas will now raise the price for freeing him," he said. Hamas made it clear Wednesday that it intended to do just that.
Here is the predictable "man in the street" reaction:
"Nobody would have expected that Israel would give up the likes of Samir Kantar. Hezbollah has shown that they are mighty people, and Israel is afraid of them and had to meet their demands," said Samar Mohammed, a 23-year-old architect in the West Bank city of Ramallah.
The most telling quote from this article is the justification offered by the Israeli government:
"This painful process exemplifies Israel's moral commitment to secure the return of all of their soldiers sent out on operational missions," said a statement Wednesday from the Israeli Defense Forces. "It demonstrates a compelling moral strength which stems from Judaism, Israeli societal values and from the spirit of the IDF."In what sense can a policy of appeasement be considered "moral"? Wouldn't a "moral" policy be one that results in no kidnappings? Wouldn't a moral policy be one that states that the Israeli government will not negotiate with terrorists and that any kidnappings will be met with overwhelming force? Wouldn't a moral policy be one that asserts Israel's moral right to exist and that identifies and destroys its enemies in the first place? Pursuing a policy that encourages and supports your enemy is self-sacrificial and the height of immorality.