Eye on The Enemy: Shalit Deal Verifies Hassan Nasrallah’s “Spider web” Theory

Shalit Deal Verifies Hassan Nasrallah’s “Spider web” Theory

Ron Ben-Yishai – Yedioth Ahronot

The deal that brought Gilad Shalit back home was internally and politically unavoidable and it is probably also reasonable in relation to the security risks it holds.

Nonetheless, in its essence and strategic meaning it was a capitulation. The capitulation of “Israel” to the extortion of a radical Islamic terrorist organization, which exposed the weak spot of the “Israeli” society, and struck with cruelty and firmness until it got all what it had asked for.

But “Israel” isn’t only capitulated. It also celebrated a humiliating festival the “IDF” gave a hand to organize.

Capitulation is not a bad word. Sometimes, it cannot be avoided in a drawn out war against a determined, fanatically-driven enemy. It is a humiliating act, yet it can be tolerated so long as it does not create an irreversible situation.

That is, as long as this act does not endanger our physical existence as a nation and as a people, and enables us to preserve our strength in preparation of the next round where there is a good chance to be victorious.

The Shalit deal is a capitulation of this kind, the tolerated kind, for the “IDF” and the Shin Bet have the tools to successfully deal with security ramifications, and because it helps us to preserve our strength. To be more exact – it boosts up the motivation of “IDF” soldiers and “Israeli” citizens as a whole, to fight and face the threats, while recognizing that mutual camaraderie is a meaningful expression in the “Israeli” society.

Mutual camaraderie, to who have forgotten, is not just a perception that a state and its citizens would do everything they can to free someone who is abducted. That is only one side of the story. The other side is that Shalit deal strengthened our internal recognition that in “Israel” every citizen counts. That’s why, both the state and citizens should carry this burden, and we’ll sacrifice our soul and body for their sake.

But this is the truth, it’s important to our future and so as it may be to our national might; it is only one part of the whole picture. A realistic estimate of what is expected must take into account the impact and outcomes of the deal on the other side. Not only on Hamas, but on all of “Israel’s” enemies, starting from Iran and Hizbullah to the most extreme Arab “Israelis”.

“Israel’s” Enemies: Kidnappings Come Off

Judging the reactions to the deal, it can be determined that it proved to our enemies that “Israeli” society knows how to endure losses, up to a point, but it cannot stand up to emotional and psychological dilemmas.

Not only abductions – any use of violence that “Israel” does not have a good military response for, causes weakness and hysteria in the “Israeli” society, thus it’s an effective procedure that will lead to tactical capitulation and perhaps even strategic one to the Jews and their state.

In fact, the Shalit deal provided a renewed Hassan Nasrallah’s “spider web” theory.

In his opinion, the “Israeli” society symbolizes a spider web, which is easy to disentangle through imposing emotional damage, while taking advantage of the
humanitarian values of Western society that force “Israel” to restrain its response – without directly confronting the IDF’s superior military power.

As far as he concerned, the “IDF’s” withdrawal from southern Lebanon is proof of this theory, and Hamas reached the same conclusions after the “Israeli” withdrawal from the Gaza Strip.

According to this theory, kidnappings almost come off, and should be continued, whether it was bodies of “Israelis” or living “Israelis”. This is proved by Hizbullah’s only achievement in the Second Lebanon War, which was the release of hundreds of prisoners – including the odious murderer Samir Kuntar -in return of two bodies.

Such deals, including the Tennenbaum one, verified for the masses in the Arab world that Islamists, whether Sunnis or Shiites, are genuine when they claim that “”Israel” only understands force”.

As such, it is obvious that the Shalit deal strengthens Hamas and the armed struggle it believes in, whereas it weakens Abou Mazen, who supports the non-violent struggle that aims to make “Israel” surrender through international pressure.

Hamas’ success forces Abo Mazen to bolster the reconciliation with Hamas. But even if the Hamas leadership in Gaza will lean towards some sort of arrangement with “Israel”, as some experts claim, the released prisoners will not allow it to moderate its stance, at least not soon.

Many of them enjoy great prestige and influence over the movement’s political leadership and its armed wing, and would do anything to outwit an arrangement with “Israel”. The Shalit deal, therefore, makes an “Israeli”-Palestinian agreement doubtful in the near future.

Nevertheless, there are some positive aspects to the deal from “Israel’s” viewpoint. The deal very much improved the relationship with Egypt. The success of the Egyptian mediation made it clear to the Supreme Military Council that the relationship with “Israel” is valuable and significant.

The agreement set by Egypt also allowed its military leadership to prove to the Egyptian and Arab masses that Cairo is capable of looking out for the Arab-Palestinian interest, and put “Israel” down if necessary.

The deal also enabled Egypt to prove to the US, Europe, and to moderate Arab states, that it is the curbing factor that knows how to defuse regional mines. All of this rebuilds and boosts Egypt’s prestige as a leader in the region, which also supports Egypt’s demand from the US and Arab leaders to provide it with needed economic and financial aid, necessary as oxygen is to breathe.

However, the deal also brought Egypt and Hamas closer. It is logic to assume that this firm bond would limit “Israel” actions against Hamas in the future.

Another positive aspect related to the deal’s conditions. The exile of scores of major vandals to Gaza or foreign countries not only minimizes the security threat they pose, it is also heavy punishment for the deportees.

Disconnecting from their families and their environment causes the released detainee psychological hardships, which not many can overcome. This Experience proves that many view exile as a kind of social isolation, which saddens and afflicts them for an extended period of time.

Another positive point associated to the government, or Netanyahu to be exact. Anyone who claimed that the “Israeli” prime minister is unable to be pragmatic and make painful concessions must admit he was wrong. Pay attention, Abo Mazen, the American administration and European leaders.

The red lines

It is now a must that “Israel” learns its lessons from the Shalit case. It can be assumed that the next kidnapping is already on its way and therefore these lessons must be carried out rapidly.

The main lesson is that “Israel”, in case of abduction, must immediately take action on three levels: first, establish a special intelligence task force which only mission is to deal with all the aspects of freeing the kidnapped citizen, starting with gathering intelligence info on his whereabouts, then develop operational options to free him, to support and consultations of negotiations.

This task force must immediately be operated by “IDF”, Shin Bet and Mossad personnel. For instance, if an “Israeli” is kidnapped overseas, the Mossad would be in control, while the “IDF” and Shin Bet would take the lead in other instances.

The second lesson is that the “IDF”, with the help of the intelligence systems, must carry out operations that would pressure the kidnappers. If the “IDF”, immediately after Shalit’s kidnapping, had entered Gaza and divided it up into three parts while announcing that the condition for leaving would be to free the kidnapped soldier – perhaps the negotiations with Hamas would have been easier and faster.

Instead, the “IDF” entered the Strip and carried out a series of useless operations, which eventually did not create any effect.

A targeted assassinations campaign would probably have resulted in a more desired outcome had it been properly planned, otherwise they wouldn’t have feared rocket barrages. These operations would not only help secure the kidnapped person’s release, it would also increase the prevention ahead of future abductions.

In addition to this, “Israel” must specify in advance its “red lines”, which the government won’t cross unless legislated. It needs to be stressed that these red lines must be realistic and take into account the precedents set in previous deals as well as “Israeli” society’s sensitivity to the lives of its people.

But they must be established after prolonged, meaningful public discussion, and full knowledge of the other side – any potential kidnappers and their controllers.

The fourth lesson is that “Israel” must stand behind its statements and threats. If the prime minister said after Shalit was released that the delinquents who return to their previous activity would be abolished, he, and those who follow him in office, must apply what they say.

If “Israel” takes decisive and practical steps to implement these lessons and proves it to the families of those who were kidnapped, the extensive media festivals that prolonged Shalit’s captivity and upped his price could be avoided in the future.

They would also make the disgraceful capitulation festival that we witnessed, extraneous, with the help of the PM’s bureau and the “IDF” wonders.

A capitulation deal should be accepted with restraint as one accepts a bitter outcome that is unavoidable. Only here (“Israel’s”) humiliation turns into a celebration, without considering how such a celebration is perceived on the other side and the damage it may cause.

Source: Hebrew newspapers, Translated by moqawama.org

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