Arab sources in the PA said last night, and again today, that they had kidnapped another Israeli. Eliyahu Asheri, 18, of Itamar, has not been seen since he left Beitar Illit on Sunday.Keep in mind that the Palestinian claim has not been completely verified.
After the kidnapping of Gilad Shalit, the terrorists demanded the release of imprisoned women and children in exchange for his safe return. Now, Hamas has upped its demands--threatening even more kidnappings until all Arab prisoners are released.
The article concludes with comments from MK Yuval Shteinitz (Likud)--Chairman of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee in the previous Knesset--who told Arutz-7 that it would be easier to find a kidnapped Israeli in the West Bank than in Gaza.
In terms of strategy, he said:
"Beyond the problem of Kassams and a kidnapped soldier, a Palestinian Hizbullah is being formed under our noses in Gaza, with tens of thousands of young Arabs training to fight against us - and yet Israel does nothing about it."Left unasked is why the level of attacks have been racheted up. We've already seen from the example of Hamas how increased status is achieved in accordance with the number of civilians killed. Also, the nature of the attack that ended in the kidnapping of Shalit required detailed planning, the attack was not in reponse to recent events. In light of the power struggle among terrorist factions, this could be an attempt to leap-frog over Hamas. Whereas Hamas merely fires rockets from the safety of Palestinian villages at civilians, an opposing terrorist faction can now brag that it goes inside and kidnaps Israelis.
Shteinitz said that in the short range, Israel must close down Gazan infrastructures, as well as target Hamas leaders. "Ultimately," he said, "there will be no choice but to go into Gaza, as I have long proposed, and carry out another massive offensive like Operation Defensive Shield."
For it's part, Israel did not take the opportunity to take the initiative and lauch an immediate incursion to rescue Shalit, instead relying on diplomatic means. Hopefully they will work, but even if they do, that will not dissuade the terrorists from further attempts. And if diplomatic channels do not work, if Israel does go in, those holding Shalit have had more time to prepare.
The only other action Israel has taken is to announce that the kidnapping will not stop Israel from going ahead with it's plans in the West Bank.
Negotiations with terrorists and a promise to retreat from the West Bank.
Not a promising strategy.