If the past is any gauge of what’s to come, things are not looking good in the West Bank – neither for the Palestinians who remain under occupation there, nor for the three missing teenagers.
From a Haaretz report:
The Israel Defense Forces plans to arrest additional senior Hamas officials. Yesterday security forces arrested 65 key members of Hamas’ political wing in an early-morning operation in East Jerusalem and the West Bank. Among those arrested were eight ministers of the Hamas government who reside in the West Bank, and 20 members of the Palestinian Legislative Council. The mayor of the town of Qalqilyah was also taken into custody.
The arrests are expected to continue.
That was from 2006, days after Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit’s abduction along the Gaza border. In the same article, Haaretz cited Israeli sources denying that the 65 detainees were meant as “bargaining chips’ for securing the release of… Shalit.”
“Instead,” Haaretz reported, “the operation is viewed in Israel as part of a broader policy of intensifying measures against the Hamas.”
Israeli commander Nitzan Alon echoed that very sentiment on Tuesday:
Hamas will come out of this confrontation weakened both strategically and operationally. We’ll continue weakening them for as long as it takes.
This before the Israeli government has offered even a shred of evidence that Hamas was behind the disappearance of three students missing in the West Bank since Friday. In a move bizarrely ill-timed to coincide with the final refutation of America’s hunch-driven escapade in Iraq, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has already dammed the Rubicon at his back (he crossed it long ago), naming Hamas the only suspect in the students’ disappearance.
So far, the only military “gain” he can claim is a steadily accumulating list of names, each of them a Palestinian whose life, let us be frank, was never free in the first place. It took more than a thousand Palestinian souls to barter the release of Gilad Shalit. If that’s any gauge of what’s to come, things are not looking good in the West Bank – neither for the Palestinians who remain under occupation there, nor for the three missing teenagers.
More on the kidnappings:
Badawi: After indicting Hamas, Bibi declares war on all Palestinians
Omer-Man: Rights groups say response to kidnapping is collective punishment
Matar: Israel’s crackdown moves beyond Hamas militants