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No Gilad Shalit deal until his condition is verified

November 24, 2016 22:51

The Hamas leader in charge of the Shalit portfolio, Osama al-Muzeini, has said that only a few people in the organisation know whether the Israeli soldier is "wounded, sick or dead", and that even the leadership is in the dark. (Fuller report in Hebrew here.)

Now, it is perfectly possible that this is a negotiation tactic; implying that Shalit may be "wounded, sick or dead" certainly ups the pressure on Israel to conclude a deal quickly.

However, there is a lesson in this for Israel. During the last prisoner exchange, with Hizbollah exactly a year ago, the government was widely criticised within Israel for not knowing whether they were negotiating to receive live soldiers, or bodies. Although kidnapped soldiers Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser were widely assumed to be dead, this was only finally confirmed when their coffins were delivered to the border. Had Israel known this for absolute certain beforehand, it would have surely affected the price they were willing to pay to get them back.

Israel cannot repeat the same mistake with Shalit. It must know exactly what state he is in before they make any promises, whatsoever, to Hamas - they need to know what they are negotiating for.

November 24, 2016 22:51

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