Jun 26, 2006

Olmert Vows Retaliation for Seized Soldier

Left: Abducted Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, courtesy of Reuters

(Tel Aviv) Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert gave the Hamas government of Palestine 48 hours to bring about the return of a captured Israeli soldier, or face what he described as a "comprehensive and protracted operation."

Olmert also said he held the entire Palestinian leadership responsible for the safety of the soldier, tank gunner Corporal Gilad Shalit, who was seized in a cross-border raid early Sunday. Two other Israeli soldiers were killed in the attack on outposts.

Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri said the attack was a joint operation between his organization, the Popular Resistance Committees, and a group calling itself the Islamic Army.

Zuhri said the coordinated action was revenge for Israel's "massacre of our children and for its assassination of Popular Resistance Committees leader, Jamal Abu Samhadana."

Neither side seems likely to back down at this juncture, as the stakes have been raised to such a level that any concessions are likely to be viewed as a sign of weakness. Without immediate intervention from neutral diplomats, I can forsee no outcome beyond the war-like scenario hinted at by Olmert.

The Hamas government, already reeling from the US-led effort to deprive the infusion of cash to the Palestinian authority, may view the attacks as a way to unify Palestinian factions in the face of an imminent Israeli threat. If Hamas caves in to the Israeli demand - a big "if," as political chaos in Palestine is high at the moment - the party will be seen as traitors by many of their supporters.

Israel, on the other hand, cannot idly sit back and allow its troops to be attacked without reprisal. Olmert and his Kadima party can ill afford to be accused of being soft on terror by right wing war hawks in the Knesset.

About 40 hours remain before the deadline passes.


Anonymous said...

Israel needs to pound Hamas back to the STone Age. They are terrorists thinly disguised as politicians, like if the Crips suddenly ran the US government.

historymike said...

I agree that elements within Hamas are violent, but I am not sure the analogy holds, anonymous.

The Crips are a gang based upon criminal activity for economic gain, while Hamas is a militant political group organized in response to perceived Israeli injustice.

Now - are the some Crips members who are politically-minded? Sure. Are there criminal thugs in Hamas with a thin veneer of political activism? Undoubtedly.

The entry by Hamas into the political sphere was not universally received by its supporters, and Hamas runs the risk of seeing itself split into moderate and militant factions.

liberal_dem said...

It seems to me that the 'eye for an eye' attitude over there could lead to blindness.

Stephanie said...


I don't think it's a matter of "could" so much as "has."

Dariush said...


The Crips started out as an offshoot of the Panthers.

I forget what the "I" stands for but "C" is for community, "R" for revolutionary and "P" for Panthers, if memory serves.

Anonymous said...


Community Rehabilitation Project.

Yeah, I can't remember what the I stands for either, but I know that much.

Crips was originally a "Youth Club" .

Unless it's just an urban legend.

Kate said...

wow....this sounds like a powder keg.

Kate said...

They killed this man.

Hooda Thunkit said...

I'm wondering if a better US policy wouldn't be "hands off?"

Our "efforts" seem to continually postpone the ineitable, maybe we should just step back and let whatever happens, happen...