View From a Height
Commentary from the Mile High City
Friday, January 30, 2004

Look Ma, a Keyboard!

Thanks to Joshua, here's my maiden contribution to this trenchant blogsite on the issues of our times. So, "Mommy, Daddy, I'm now a novitiate blogger!"

Today marks another sad milestone on Israel's quixotic yet myopic path of "doing the right thing" for the sake of being the responsible parent on the Middle east block. Ever ingratiating itself with the U.S. State Department and the so-called "international community" seems to be the current premier foreign policy goal of Sharon's governance.

400 Palestinian Arab terrorists and 35 foreign fellow travellers were released from Israeli jails and detention centers in exchange for one kidnapped Israeli businessman (alive) and three kidnapped Israeli soldiers (dead). What rationale for such a mad swap, so lopsided both numerically and qualitatively? Well, Virginia, Israel is committed to bringing all of her sons home, eventually, even if . . . .

Even if. Hmmm. Putting the very best spin on this event that I can muster, I suppose Sharon's plan could be to get rid of all of the incarcerated Palestinians and other terror miscreants as an easy jump-start on creating the very "apartheid state" that the Arabs so love to continuously prate on about. The money saved thereby could be used to (1) encourage all resident Israeli Arabs to emigrate from Israel with some compensation, and (2) help build that exorbitant anti-infiltration Fence to keep everyone else out. Another obvious benefit of releasing the Arabs now in jail is perhaps much more delectable: If they decide to return to terrorism, Israel can then terminate them with extreme prejudice as a matter of military necessity, without violating either Israeli civil law or Torah ethics.

For those of us who are simpatico with Realpolitik, it's an inspired plan, come to think of it. The signal problem, of course, is that it serves to place more Jewish lives at risk, not only in Yesha and metropolitan Israel, but throughout the rest of the world as well. (Remember those 35 foreign nationals, who may wind up repatriated to their home states?) I can't help but feel that Israel is gonna rue this event, just as, after 9/11, it must have rued the release back in 1996 of a then little-known Arab terror thug. As we know, Mohammed Atta went on to do some bigger blasting.

I've no doubt that the families of Elhannen Tannenbaum and the three dead soldiers are glad to be reunited with their kin. However, the cost of this triumph of the heart over the head will likely be dear. Trades like this can only incent the barbarians to murder and maim and kidnap more Israelis. Why? Because, alas, they can now hardly doubt that a "get out of jail" card will ultimately be waiting for them in exchange for the bodies of their victims--whether delivered back dead or alive. Whatever happened to common sense?

JOSHUA ADDS: The feel-good aspect of a society and culture that values one of our cocaine-dealing businessmen above 400 of "their" killers is undeniable. A soldier captured in the line of duty might have been worth the trade, mostly for the necessary military morale and esprit de corps. But the measure can't always be live Arabs vs. live Israelis. In this case, as Bill points out, the measure may well be live Israelis vs. future dead. After all, that's the downside of dealing with a society that values human life at something less than 1/400 of what you do.

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