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Yesterday, the 1:1,400 exchange for Shalit was eerily close. As a final touch, IDF’s Chief of Staff interrupted his US trip to attend the Cabinet meeting. Israel’s disagreements with Hamas remain negligible—whether the released monsters would be expelled or allowed to stay in the Palestinian-occupied territories.

Then, the government issued a statement citing irreconcilable disagreements with Hamas. It seems that the security establishment revolted against the exchange; it is rumored to be so outrageous that the government wants to keep the prisoners’ list secret.

Olmert the master politician probably staged the almost-successful negotiations to defuse tensions without meaning to actually conduct the deal. The idea would be to make the entire Cabinet, and possibly the nation, reject the exchange.

Physicians for Human Rights has issued another scathing anti-Israeli report. This time, they accused Jews of discriminating against Negev Bedouins: 50,000 children in their illegal villages lack pediatricians.

The fact-twisting is simple to see. By definition, government clinics serve legal villages; budgets cannot be allocated to illegal causes. In practice, Bedouins from illegal villages take their children to nearby clinics in the legal villages for free medical service, no problem. But nominally, no doctors are allocated to them.

PHR is avoiding a bigger question: why do the Bedouins discriminate against Jews by not paying us taxes and flouting our land-laws?

The Jerusalem Post reports that the coalition agreement puts Lieberman in charge of an Israeli-American committee to work out the details about Iran. Lieberman wouldn’t accept responsibility for so big a thing if it were likely to fail, thus he knows that the attack is forthcoming and wants to claim a major part in it.

In compliance with court orders, Jerusalem municipality has started demolishing illegal Arab buildings in Beit Tzafafa district. Regrettably, the demolition affects just a handful of the tens of thousands of illegal housing units Arabs have built in the Jewish capital.

Hundreds of policemen have been diverted to the event to prevent Arab riots.

Al Jazeera has aired an interview with the cop-killers who ambushed Israeli traffic policemen in Jordan Valley.

Israel fully cooperates with Al Jazeera, even to the extent of granting it permission to enter Gaza and attend the Israeli government’s press conferences.

Bibi’s huge payoffs to Lieberman, including the Foreign and Security Ministries, the Iran committee, and the Land Authority (which is hugely profitable in terms of bribes), prompted the other parties to up their coalition demands—at a time when Bibi has not much left to give away.

The National Union is sticking to its hardcore right-wing demands that the outposts be legalized. Western governments can do nothing against Israel if Netanyahu approves those hamlets, but he’s afraid of even nominal confrontation with them. But without the NU, Bibi cannot form his narrow coalition.

Bibi can bring Tzipi into the government, but then Peres could offer her prime ministry (she won the elections) and the right to form a coalition.

Exploiting the gullibility of their Western audience, Hamas blamed Israel for “lack of courage” and “failure in getting the deal.” The Jewish sin is great, indeed: Olmert refused to release eight arch-terrorists, 150 major terrorists, and a thousand trash prisoners for the leftist corporal Shalit.
Shimon Peres pushed for the release of his friend, Tanzim leader Marwan Barghouti, and Barak pushed to release them all. Bizarrely, Chief of Staff Ashkenazi took Barak’s side, apparently dancing blindly to the IDF’s official tune that no efforts were spared to bring our POWs back. The proper efforts would have meant bombing Hamas, rather than exchanging its members.
Israelis still close their eyes to the fact that Olmert is the least worse prime minister of the past twenty years, and for the next five years.

Olmert masterfully inflamed Israeli public opinion with rumors of the pending exchange. As the deal seemed almost done, the public digested it and reconsidered the potential joy of getting Shalit back—and started opposing the terrorists’ release. Many voters sighed with relief when the talks failed.

No one is perfect, and no prime minister is good: Olmert was ready to release scores of “minor” murderers, including Walid Ajnes and Fadi Juabeh, who are serving twenty-six life sentences each.
Tens of thousands Israeli soldiers risked their life to arrest the 1,500 terrorists which the government has no problem releasing.

Netanyahu will have a lot of trouble with the leftist crowd of pro-Shalit (anti-terror-victims) demonstrators. His leftist opponents will use them to weaken Bibi’s government. Cui bono? Who pours millions of dollars into pro-Shalit events? Those who want Israel to lose the terrorist war, the EU and ultra-leftists.

The greatest problem is, they all will be released sooner or later. We consider them murderers, but to the Arabs they are terrorists. Any political settlement with the Palestinians would require Israel to release those “soldiers” who fought for Annapolis or the Road Map goals. Israel respects her terrorists from ETZEL and LEHI, and the Arabs respect theirs. The only alternative to their eventual release is execution.