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Releasing Prisoners, Appeasing Enemies

August 4th, 2013 - 8:35 am

Both the Israeli release of more than a hundred Palestinian killers and the American release of five Taliban killers  from Guantanamo are U.S. policy decisions, so it’s fair to treat them as part of a single mindset.  There are many possible reasons for releasing prisoners, but most of the time, and especially in recent years, such actions are part of a bigger issue, as are these two examples. The prisoners are typically pawns on a geopolitical chess board.  Both Israel and the United States have been involved in this game for decades.  It all started as barter, but it has now become an embarrassing form of appeasement.

The Israelis have frequently released Palestinian prisoners, as a component in efforts to reach a stable agreement between the two enemies, but the practice began in 1971 as a simple one-on-one swap, when a terrorist from al Fatah was released in exchange for an Israeli night watchman who had been abducted by the Palestinians.

–The next known deal was in 1979, when an Israeli soldier was ransomed for 76 Palestinians.

–In 1983 the numbers got bigger.  After the war in Lebanon, Israel released 65 terrorists held in Israeli prisons, plus 4,700 Palestinians and Lebanese POWs, in exchange for six IDF soldiers.

–In 1985 Israel sent 1,150 prisoners to the Palestinians to gain the release of three soldiers.  This deal was the first of two times Israel released Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, a prolific killer who became the founder of Hamas.  He was released a second time in 1997, swapped for two Mossad agents arrested in Jordan in a failed operation to assassinate Khaled Mashaal, Hamas’s current leader.  Yassin promised to give up suicide bombing, but almost immediately resumed the practice.  He was killed in 2004.

–The year 2004 saw the celebrated deal with Hezbollah, negotiated by German government officials, which sent 435 prisoners from Israel to the Shi’ite terrorist group, in exchange for one live Israeli (Elhanan Tannenbaum) and the bodies of three others.

–More than six hundred Palestinian prisoners were released between 1993 and 2000, some as part of deals like the Oslo Accords, others as good-will gestures in the context of other negotiations, such as the Wye River Agreement.

–The biggest recent deal was with Hamas:  the release of more than a thousand Palestinians in exchange for the safe return of captured Israeli soldier Gilad Schalit, in 2011.

It’s easy to see that there is nothing very new in the latest Israeli prisoner release, neither in the fact itself, nor in the role American pressure undoubtedly played in bringing it about.  In the eighties and nineties, Israel released prisoners in response to American pressure, and as a way of fending off other American demands, such as yielding territory or shutting down settlements.

As for the American liberation of terrorists, that, too, has been going on for some time.  There has been a steady flow from Camp Gitmo;  the number of prisoners held there has fallen from well over seven hundred to 167 as of a year ago.  Some have been released outright, others have been transferred to other countries.  Many of them have returned to the battlefield.

–When we left Iraq, more than 300 Iranian prisoners under U.S. military control were turned over to the Iraqi government, which promptly sent them home.  Many of them were known to have been involved in lethal terrorist attacks against American troops in Iraq, and there was no doubt that the Iraqis were going to release them.  Thus, despite the many claims–most recently by the estimable Jonathan Tobin, whom I admire– that the United States “would never” release killers of Americans, we’ve done it repeatedly.  Does the name Ali Daqduq mean anything to you?  Here’s what I wrote about the disgusting appeasement of Iranian terrorism in late 2011-2012.

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Top Rated Comments   
How about if we swap "mullah buraq hussein obama", Hillary Clinton, Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton for the physician who helped pinpoint Osama Bin Laden? Seems like a fair trade to me! (Of course we might have to throw in a few camels, a couple dozen chickens and two well-broke-in goats just to make the Pakistanis think they got a good deal out of it)!
37 weeks ago
37 weeks ago Link To Comment
Contempt is all the U.S. and Israel deserves for craven, cowardly and foolish acts like these! By seeking peace without laying the true foundations for it, they only cause endless war ... When will the politicians understand this?
37 weeks ago
37 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (20)
All Comments   (20)
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This kind of war style typified the Thirty-Years War.

It's feral.

The only known gambit is tit-for-tat.

After the war, such antics were banned as contrary to the Western rules of war.

The ummah has never come on board with them.

37 weeks ago
37 weeks ago Link To Comment
Mr. Ledeen,
This is off topic, but I've been waiting a few years.

It's been a while since I've posted here. The last time was when I noted that a consideration for dropping the bomb on Japan was to send a message to the Russians. I don't remember what you called me. I think it was, "idiot." Classy.

As a "historian," you, of all people, should understand that a) you don't know everything and b) new information appears.

http://www.csmonitor.com/1992/0806/06191.html/(page)/2

Your arrogance probably prevents an apology. It would be nice, though.

Steven
37 weeks ago
37 weeks ago Link To Comment
Funny you should bring this up.

Ever since Obama and the Palestinians began demanding another prisoner release by Israel as a "good faith gesture" I have been thinking that a gesture more along the lines of Harry Truman's "gesture" to the Japanese in 1945 might have more success in bringing about the long sought after "lasting peace".

We have had peace with the Japanese for almost 70 years.



37 weeks ago
37 weeks ago Link To Comment
Delightful revisionism.

ALL of the Japanese officials in a position to know have gone on the record: even after the A bombs, the IJA had to have surrender crammed down their throats by the Emperor.

By Japanese standards the fighting had scarcely begun. America had fought, and defeated, only a handful of Japanese infantry divisions. The entire remainder had ONLY known success. (China, Dutch East Indies... Tokyo even dismissed the Burma Campaign as being of no serious matter.)

37 weeks ago
37 weeks ago Link To Comment
I am thinking that a amnesty be declared of certain length of time, so that there can be more examples of this: http://www.danielpipes.org/comments/208720
37 weeks ago
37 weeks ago Link To Comment
There is a major difference.

In the case of the US, we are talking about prisioners, untried.

In the case of Israel, our "friends" in the United States are forcing us to release convicted felons with blood on their hands.
37 weeks ago
37 weeks ago Link To Comment
Greetings:


Once again, the POW calculus:

1) You don't ever want to fight anyone twice;

2) Some POWs may have useful information;

3) Capture, relocation and detention of POWs requires the
use of scarce resources.

If I catch them, I'll do the math.
37 weeks ago
37 weeks ago Link To Comment
How about if we swap "mullah buraq hussein obama", Hillary Clinton, Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton for the physician who helped pinpoint Osama Bin Laden? Seems like a fair trade to me! (Of course we might have to throw in a few camels, a couple dozen chickens and two well-broke-in goats just to make the Pakistanis think they got a good deal out of it)!
37 weeks ago
37 weeks ago Link To Comment
California set to release 10k prisoners from state prison because of over crowding. because judge

37 weeks ago
37 weeks ago Link To Comment
I hope that we send all the released prisoners to live in his home area.
37 weeks ago
37 weeks ago Link To Comment
First and foremost, releasing terrorist prisoners is against Israel's Basic Law, as well as international law - Nullum Crimen Sine Poena, No Crime Without Punishment. And, it I learned anything, being mentored by international law expert Professor Louis Rene Beres, this essence stands above the rest.

So, aside from Israel's leadership behaving as 'legal outlaws, so too is Obama Inc., as they push for these releases! In any case, to understand where the score is at, peer within this recent interview by Dr. Martin Sherman, Isreal's foremost strategic policy analyst - http://www.inquisitr.com/881038/confronting-israels-precarious-future-an-interview-with-dr-martin-sherman-part-one/

BTW, while Al Qaeda springs their henchmen from prisons, wherein lies the difference, when Israel does the same, regardless of 'this or that' pressure? Exactly.

Adina Kutnicki, Israel http://adinakutnicki.com/about/
37 weeks ago
37 weeks ago Link To Comment
Stupid is as stupid does. Gov'ts simple NEVER learn that appeasment does NOT work!
37 weeks ago
37 weeks ago Link To Comment
my point
Al qaida should be given a little home in Syria and see what fruit they produce in their little land they rule as a symbol of when Saul The Zealot meet Jesus and instantly and radially changed his life
37 weeks ago
37 weeks ago Link To Comment
They had a land, Afghanistan.
37 weeks ago
37 weeks ago Link To Comment
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