There’s a little bit of fear-mongering going on right now by some parties that want Israel to release Fatah prisoners to make Mahmoud Abbas look good.
The IDF, for example, has expressed to the political echelon in Israel that they believe Abbas has been undermined by the Shalit exchange and in order to strengthen him and his armed forces which have supposedly been keeping the peace with Israel, it is important to give the Palestinian chairman a prisoner release of his own.
Others, like George Mitchell, are suggesting that Abbas has been weakened by the deal because in order for him to maintain peace and not let Judea and Samaria devolve into violent conflagrations launched by frustrated Palestinians, he must
bring home the bacon show some tangible political results and a prisoner release would help reverse Hamas’s strengthened position.
Abbas himself has now gone into “release Fatah prisoners” mode by claiming that Olmert had promised him once that if Shalit is released in an exchange with Hamas, then Fatah would get even better prisoners. People around Olmert have acknowledged the promise.
I say, let the Fatah prisoners rot in jail. Release more Hamas men to finalize the Shalit deal.
The Palestinians apparently like to take what they can and give nothing in return. With Olmert, they were offered a far-reaching peace agreement that was even superior to what Israel had offered at Taba. Abbas walked away, pocketing the map, and never returned to talks. Later, the Palestinians would claim that talks had to begin where they ended with Olmert.
But they’d like to honor Olmert now. Did the PA do anything to help Shalit get released? No. To help find him? No. Did they do anything as a thank you for all the various gestures Israel has provided over the years including the removal of road blocks, opening of trade channels, military support for PA leaders so their predators, Hamas, wouldn’t topple them, a settlement freeze, a Likud leader’s offer of a two state solution and even prisoner releases? No.
In fact, the PA just continued on its merry way with its diplomatic and existential war on Israel. The PA, to remind you all, just walked away from Oslo Accords and its agreements with Israel in order to present a unilateral declaration of statehood at the UN without committing to peace or to end of claims on Israel.
The fact is, the PA has been very effective in this war against Israel and has left Israel bloodied on the battlefield. Heck, the Palestinians are so confident after this victory that they’ve taken on the United States at the UN.
If the prisoner exchange which was partially intended to strengthen Hamas and weaken Abbas has worked as planned – and apparently it has or all these people wouldn’t be trying to save his hide – then why ruin an effective strategy?
It’s simple: let Fatah prisoners go and then you face an ascendant, cocky PA that refuses to negotiate and tries to undermine Israel in every international public forum, not to mention at campuses across the Western world…or; don’t let Fatah prisoners go and watch as Abbas licks his wounds and takes a step back from all the bravado.
As for the fear that the PA will let Fatah loose again and resort to violence, I find that hard to believe. The Palestinians have made more headway, despite their ongoing lies and games, in a few years of wearing expensive suits and playing at diplomacy than they have in a century of attacks on Jews. They won’t risk that. It’s the Hamas long-time terrorists Israel should fear (and it should release lesser criminals to fulfill its obligations, not more murderers).
Let the PA wallow in it for a while. It’s not as if they’re partners for peace anyway.