In Israel today, the Olmert government's incredibly bad decision to swap the bodies of two Israelis Hezbollah kidnapped and murdered for the release of six Hezbollah terrorists from Israeli prisons and the bodies of a number of others has been carried out.
The horrific implications that will likely result from this are staggering...for Israel, for the West, and believe it or not, for the Arabs themselves.
For Israel, the trading of live terrorists with blood on their hands for the dead bodies of two Israeli soldiers endangers the life of every Israeli captured by the Arabs, including Gilad Shalit, who is still a prisoner of Hamas. After all,why should Hezbollah or any other Arab captor return a live Jew when they can get such a handsome price for a dead one?
It also endangers the life of every Jew in Israel, since Hezbollah and Hamas have now discovered that kidnapping not only works, but yields big dividends both in propaganda value and in kind.
Hamas is already talking about the success of this tactic and about raising the price for the release of Shalit. There is no question that there will be more 'operations' designed to capture or kill Israelis, especially now that the deterrent factor has been so reduced.
The implications for the West are no less grim. Hamas has already been successfully able to hold Britons Alan Johnston and Kate Burton, a British `human rights' worker for hefty ransoms, along with who knows how many others and pulled their navy out of the Persian Gulf after a few sailors were kidnapped by Iran. The same is true of reporter Jill Carol and FOX News reporters Steve Centanni and photographer Olaf Wiig. The German government paid a ransom for hostages and has now had four more of its citizens kidnapped by the PKK. And this are by no means the full list.
The Islamic tradition already sanctifies the taking of captives for ransom and to terrorize enemies, and they now have the example of Israel, one of the few states with a reputation for standing up to terrorists now caving in and swapping live terrorists for corpses after Hezbollah bluntly refused to abide by any of what we would refer to as civilized norms by allowing a sign of life from the captives.
They have likely been dead for some time after who knows what kind of treatment at the hands of Hezbollah, and Hezbollah and the Islamists everywhere now have yet another object lesson that kidnapping works...whether you deliver a live victim or not.
It's important to remember that every tactic used by jihadists against the West got its first trial run in Israel.There will be more of this, and not just in 'the Zionist entity.'
The implications for the Arabs, particularly Hezbollah,the Lebanese and the Palestinians are just as stark, although very few of them realize it yet. That can easily be seen when we look at who the terrorists released actually are, and the Arab reaction to that release.
Among the Hezbollah killers released is Samir Kuntar, who is returning to a hero's welcome in Lebanon,organized by Hezbollah and the Siniora government. He is seen as a heroic figure by both Hezbollah,most of the Lebanese and by the Palestinians, and it is revealing to look at why Kuntar was in an Israeli prison serving two life terms after being convicted in an Israeli court.
One night in April, 1978, Kuntar and three accomplices landed at the Israeli coastal town of Nahariya from the sea, and then invaded an apartment. They seized Danny Haran and his four-year-old daughter Einat as hostages. They then took them down to the beach, where Kuntar shot the little girl's father in front of her eyes and then murdered the child by smashing her head on a rock with a rifle butt. The family's other two-year old daughter Yael was killed when her mother accidentally smothered her while hiding in a closet from Kuntar and his men.
Smadar Haran, wife and mother of the murder victims, described the murder in the Washington Post in 2003 in these words:
"It was a murder of unimaginable cruelty. It had been a peaceful Sabbath day. My husband, Danny, and I had picnicked with our little girls, Einat, 4, and Yael, 2, on the beach. Around midnight, the terrorists burst into our building. Danny helped our neighbor climb into a crawl space above our bedroom; I went in behind her with Yael in my arms. Danny grabbed Einat and was dashing out the front door when the terrorists came crashing into our flat. They held Danny and Einat . I will never forget the joy and the hatred in the terrorists voices as they swaggered about hunting for us, firing their guns and throwing grenades. As I lay there, I remembered my mother telling me how she had hidden from the Nazis during the Holocaust. "This is just like what happened to my mother, I thought.
The terrorists took Danny and Einat down to the beach. There, according to eyewitnesses, one of them shot Danny in front of Einat so that his death would be the last sight she would ever see. Then he smashed my little girl's skull in against a rock with his rifle butt. That terrorist was Samir Kuntar." [Smadar Haran Kaiser, Washington Post, May 18, 2003]
Kuntar has never voiced the slightest regret for murdering a child's father in front of her and then dashing her brains out with a rifle butt. Having been well treated in prison, he has announced that he plans to return to the front lines of the jihad against the Jews.
This is the man the Palestinians honored by making him an honorary Palestinian citizen two years ago, and the man the Palestinians and Lebanon are celebrating today as a hero...and
Another hero the Palestinians and indeed most of the Arab world are honoring today is Dalal Mughrabi, who's remains were released as part of the swap.
She was the leader of what became known in Israel as the Coastal Massacre. On March 11, 1978, Mughrabi led a band of eleven terrorists who murdered several people in cold blood, including an American photographer, Gail Rubin. They then hijacked a bus filled with families going on an outing.
When the IDF unit managed to stop the bus, Mughrabi and her gang began shooting the helpless men, women and children at point-blank range and then firebombed the bus itself, turning it into a death trap. At least 35 were killed, including 13 children and a number of Americans.
The Palestinian Authority named a girls' school in Hebron after Mughrabi, a few streets and a number of other government institutions like summer camps, and there have been a number of books, television and radio programs about her 'heroic martyrdom.' She's regarded by Palestinian Arabs as a role model.
They are now seeking to reclaim her remains for what the Palestinian Authority calls a 'festive ceremony.'
When the Palestinians and the Lebanese honor monsters like these,they are sending a message to Israelis, and indeed to the rest of us.They are telling us that, Nazi-like, they have poisoned themselves with hatred to the point where they no longer recognize their adversaries as human and that no horror is too beyond the pale for them to commit.They are letting the world know that no accommodation with them is possible.
They have sent this message before,particularly the Palestinians, but rarely in so public a fashion to the world at large. It was so blatant that even the New York Times hurriedly whipped up one of their cycle-of violence specialties and attempted to humanize Kuntar on the basis that he supposedly had a rough childhood!
Also, there are a number of Israelis, especially those who made it their business to tune out before who are now seeing the images of Kuntar being feted and are going to be taking a very different view of the so-called peace process..especially in the event of wars with the likes of Hezbollah and Hamas.
So far,the Arabs have been able to conduct the war against Israel on a tribal level,with no holds barred, while the Israelis have prided themselves on trying to avoid civilian casualties and collateral damage for the most part,no matter what you might see on al-Jazeera or on the BBC.
If the Israelis begin defending themselves and taking the fight to their enemies with anything like the same sort of rules Hezbollah and Hamas observe, there may be a solution to the Middle East conflict that the people now idolizing Kuntar and Mughrabi didn't bargain for.