Written by Daniel Greenfield
The Shalit deal will release some of the worst murderers in Israeli history, including those responsible for the Dolphinarium disco bombing which killed over a dozen teenagers, the Sbarro pizza bombing which wiped out an entire family, the lynchers of two Israeli reservists and the Passover Massacre at the Park Hotel.
This is Israel's worst military defeat in its modern history and it is being celebrated with grins and cheers, not just in Gaza but in Tel Aviv.
What the deal really means is revolving door terrorism is back. Kill Israelis and you stay in prison only long enough for other terrorists to kidnap an Israeli and win their release. Those 25 year sentences mean nothing. A life sentence doesn't mean life, it means however many years it takes the Israeli government to give in to blackmail.
As over a thousand terrorists are freed, it is time to recognize that every Israeli institution has failed to deal with terrorism. Its court system packed with career leftists is a joke. Its prisons have become nothing more than temporary housing with free education and entertainment for terrorist murderers in between their release under international or Hamas pressure.
The military excels at targeted strikes on empty warehouses and at sending unprotected units without artillery cover into enemy villages. While the soldiers are fighting and dying, denied artillery and air support, the generals who sent them there are planning which party they'll join after they retire. Usually the left, which needs military credibility and cover more.
Domestic law enforcement is excellent if you want to crack down on some "right wing extremists" who might be putting up a hut somewhere in violation of some voluntary construction freeze. Elite units can be on the way as soon as possible, backed by intelligence from embedded assets and security agencies who will have dossiers waiting on all the participants.
But if you took a bullet through your windshield, or a fist sized rock, while driving near an Arab village it's best to drive home and tell no one about it. If you do contact law enforcement, a weary police officer will tell you the same thing. And if you still insist on being foolish enough, then an investigation will begin and the local friendly Mohamedans will claim that you fired shots at them first. If you're lucky you won't spend any time in prison, but you will spend months dealing with the legal system, while your attackers will be represented free of charge by NGO's funded by America, Europe and Soros.
If you are unlucky and your attackers go to the trouble of putting on a good show and the Times picks up on it, then you will get a sentence anywhere from five to twenty-five years (depending on whether there is a fake corpse too) and your sentence will be an actual sentence. It will not be waived every time the terrorists kidnap a soldier. And unlike Noam Shalit, no one will pay attention to your parents when they cry and plead. They will be lucky if they aren't dragged out of court while the judge goes off to attend a seminar on human rights put on by those same NGO's.
Then there are the politicians. Israel has three types of politicians. The absolutely corrupt, who believe in nothing and will vote for anything. They form the majority of all parties. The left, which believes that Israel is an immoral state. The right which makes patriotic speeches while following the policies of the left on everything but the economy. That is why Israel has a successful economy and a failed war on terrorism.
The country's economic inventiveness disguises its political malaise. The left has never admitted that its policies have failed, and the right has promised to follow its policies but with a more responsible emphasis on national security. There are no original ideas, only a succession of politicians trying to stay in power for more than four years while maintaining the status quo.
Israeli politicians are drawn from three groups. The sons of political figures, the military and minority activists. The leaders of all Israel's major parties come from one of these categories.What they all have in common is a complete lack of original ideas. Foreign Minister Lieberman, for all his faults and buffoonery, is the only prominent figure in the government who comes up with ideas. Which is why it's vital for pundits to compare him to Hitler and for the same foreign governments who fund those NGO's to urge the Israeli government to form into an incestuous Kadima-Likud bloc.
Israel's mainstream political establishment is a complete failure, on the left and the right. The mainstream electorate which supports Kadima even more so. Its only sources of vitality come from Russian, Middle-Eastern and Anglo immigrants who still haven't been beaten down into the Israeli way of doing things. Who still haven't adopted the cynical optimism that shrugs and refuses to think five steps forward. That cheers Gilad Shalit's release, the return of Barak, the return of Netanyahu and the same old revolving door political establishment leading to the same old revolving door terrorism, while admitting that none of it really means anything.
Hamas won because it had an objective, a long term strategy meant to achieve its goals. Israel has no objectives, except to keep the violence down to a minimum. Its strategic objectives are to avoid pain as much as possible. The Shalit decision ties into that strategy. After Noam Shalit and his allies terrorized the political establishment, in conjunction with Hamas, Noam and Hamas got their way. The terrorists go free, if Gilad is alive, he will probably go free too. I say "probably" because three years ago when Israel made this swap with Hezbollah, it got bodies in exchange for terrorists.
Israel only goes on the offensive as a defensive strategy. Bomb the terrorists a bit to remind the Israeli public that their government isn't completely incompetent and warn the terrorists to keep the violence down. If the terrorists go too far, then it might be a whole month of attacks, where soldier's lives are traded as a warning. A warning that means nothing.
The noise and furor over the so-called "Price Tag" attacks is pathetic hypocrisy when the attacks consist of civilians in dangerous areas practicing the policy of the Israeli government. And practicing it more honestly and more competently than the generals who trade off dozens of lives for a few hundred terrorists and six months of calm. The same generals who wisely stroke their chins and assure the public that they know what they're doing. And they do. But what they're doing isn't fighting terrorism, it's achieving a temporary calm through temporary violence that makes them and their bosses look good, without actually stopping terrorism.
The Israeli war on terrorism has failed. It failed when Rabin and Peres cut a deal with Arafat. It failed when Israel adopted a defensive strategy of retreating behind walls, real or imaginary. It failed when Israel traded off the worst terrorists in its prisons for a brief rush of positive feelings which is what the Shalit deal really comes down to. That and Netanyahu taking some of the pressure off.
Israel has no plan for going forward. The left can only think of cutting more deals with terrorists while pretending the outcome will be somehow different than it has been for nearly twenty years. The right has no policy except minimizing the pain of the status quo. It will do anything if it's pressured enough, and if it isn't pressured, then it takes out maps and begins planning a workable ghetto state for itself behind virtual fences and anti-missile defenses.
Savlanut is not the solution. At some point you either go on the offensive against the core problem, or you lose. The joke from the Six Day War that Nasser had borrowed the Soviet strategy from WW2 of retreating and then waiting for the snow to bury the Israelis. The joke has now been turned around. It's the Israeli political and military establishment which is retreating and waiting for the snow to bury the terrorists. But the snow isn't coming.
The terrorists have been going steadily on the offensive and they are winning. Most Israelis will deny that, but it's a fact. The UN hubbub and the Shalit deal are reminders of it. Things will not get any better by ignoring the problem. They will not get better with Hasbara. They will not get better if the terrorists are given free reign to demonstrate that they're not interested in peace. They will not get better at the negotiating table. They will not get better after a few weeks of bombing. They will not get better until the core problem is addressed.
The core problem is that Israel has armed terrorist groups operating within its borders. Those groups have military and political objectives that they are closer than ever to achieving. Those groups including the PA and Hamas. Israel will either drive out those groups, or in combination with sponsoring Muslim states, the UN and even their European allies, they will destroy Israel.
The snow isn't coming. The terrorists, the Turks, the Iranians, the Syrians and Egyptians are.
Daniel Greenfield: From NY to Jerusalem, Daniel Greenfield Covers the Stories Behind the News