"We want more Shalits!" Israeli Arabs & Palestinians shout, Palestinian journalist abu-Toameh interprets

"We Want More Shalits!" by Khaled Abu Toameh in Hudson-NY October 21, 2011

It is clear by now that it is only a matter of time before Hamas or any other Palestinian group try to kidnap another soldier or Israeli civilian in order to copy the Shalit example. The deal has given them a strong incentive to try once again to snatch a soldier or civilian to achieve that goal.

Like the withdrawals from the Gaza Strip and Lebanon, the prisoner swap has sent the same message not only to the Palestinians, but to the rest of the Arab world: that violence and kidnappings are the only language that Israel understands, and that the violent struggle against Israel must continue because negotiations do not lead to anything.

Sadly, it is hard to find anyone on the Palestinian side who sees the exchange deal as a sign of Israeli flexibility. On the contrary - Israel's concessions are almost always interpreted as a sign of weakness that eventually leads to more violence. The withdrawal from the Gaza Strip in 2005 was seen as a sign of Israeli weakness in the face of increased rocket and suicide attacks. The withdrawal from southern Lebanon before that was also viewed as a sign of weakness in the face of Hizbollah's attacks on Israel.

Statements made by many of the released prisoners and several Hamas leaders don't bode well for the future. They view the deal as an Israeli capitulation to their demands and are now calling for the kidnapping of more Israeli soldiers to trade them for the remaining Palestinians in Israeli prisons.

Chanting "We want more Shalits!," thousands of Palestinians took to the streets in the Gaza Strip to greet the released prisoners and call on Hamas and other armed Palestinian groups to hurry up and launch more operations to kidnap Israeli soldiers. Read it all

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