the importance of this prisoner release can be found in Haaretz. [emphasis mine]So, nu--how is this prisoner release different from all other prisoner releases?
Let's go to Haaretz:
Israel's release of 199 Palestinian prisoners as a gesture of goodwill to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas "creates pressure on Hamas and is likely to accelerate the negotiations over Gilad Shalit," Shin Bet security service chief Yuval Diskin told the cabinet on Monday.This is not an encouraging start--least of all because Diskin seems to take with his left hand whatever hope he provides with his right. Israel does not expect Hamas to soften its demands. But apparently, somehow Israel is cleverly pushing Hamas towards negotiations over Shalit.
However, he added, "the gesture will not make Hamas more flexible about its demands, because the organization sees that Israel is releasing prisoners with blood on their hands, which merely causes Hamas to harden its position."
You have to go a little further to see what the Israeli government thinks it is accomplishing:
According to a government source, Shin Bet representatives spoke in favor of the move, on the grounds that it would pressure Hamas to conclude a deal for the return of kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit.In other words, Israel is hoping to force Hamas to the negotiating table with the same or increased demands for the release of terrorists with blood on their hands so that Israel can release them and gain Shalit's release.
"Hamas is looking despairingly at how, despite the fact that it holds Shalit, it is not succeeding in bringing about a prisoner release, while Abu Mazen [Abbas], who is conducting negotiations with Israel, is securing a prisoner release," the official said. "It's enough to see Hamas' response to the government's decision to understand the pressure the organization is under."
Crossposted on Soccer Dad
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