Wednesday, October 23, 2019 -
Print Edition

Goodwill gesture, Animal Farm style

What painful news. Bibi, along with the vote and agreement of many other government ministers, has agreed to release 104 Palestinian terrorist prisoners in exchange for . . . for what? For nothing. For absolutely nothing.

Many of us will disagree on principle about using Palestinian terrorist prisoners as bargaining chips in Israeli-Palestinian political negotiations. But at least, as lopsided or caricatured as an exchange might be, at least there is something tangible being exchanged.

Not this time. The deal was struck as yet another gesture of goodwill on the part of Israel to get the Palestinians to come to the negotiating table in the first place.

Really? I mean, isn’t it pretty obvious that you don’t release murderers simply to bring the other side to the negotiation? If this is the dynamic, then the negotiation is over in advance and you have already lost.

Various people, at the very least confused, are writing, speculating, trying to make sense of it.

Perhaps Obama is breathing down Israel’s neck pressuring or threatening Bibi to a point where he had no choice?

Perhaps this is blackmail by the US so as not to lose US support for Israel executing a preemptive attack on Iran?

Perhaps Bibi is morphing into the Bibi of the Wye agreements when he conceded Hebron, so he can go down in history as the Prime Minister who brought peace?

And here is the argument most often presented: This is realpolitik, and will help the situation move forward when the world and the US will see how much Israel is willing to sacrifice for peace.

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Tehilla R. Goldberg

IJN columnist | View from Central Park

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