The US government wanted to remove Hamas from the Iranian/Syrian camp and place it in the Egypt/Muslim Brotherhood camp. Was achieving their goal contingent in getting Israel to accept the release of 1000 terrorists, or would it have taken place regardless, If the latter, it was a window of opportunity. If the former, Bibi was forced into accepting the deal.
By the way Bibi had to agree not to pursue or kill these terrorists after their release. Of course Hamas was not asked to agree not to use these people to commit more terrorist attacks or not to take new hostages.
Finally is the deal to undercut Iran and embrace Hamas and the MB good for Israel. It suggests to me that this is part of the US attempt to produce a “peace” agreement including Hamas and Bibi is complicit.
DEBKAfile Special Report
Those clauses, negotiated directly between Panetta and Hamas’ political chief Khaled Meshaal, entailed the shutting down of Hamas headquarters in Damascus in order to undercut Syrian President Bashar Assad, Iran and Hizballah and loosen their hold on the Palestinians. Meshaal who visited Tehran a week ago agreed to gradually downgrade his ties with Iran in return for American patronage of Hamas.
Netanyahu told the Israeli ministers that he had faced a tough dilemma between rescuing the Israeli soldier and national security and a balance was hard to strike. But his commitment to saving Gilad Shalit was absolute. The “window of opportunity” presented now may never recur, he warned, given the turbulence besetting the Middle East. He therefore asked the ministers for their unanimous endorsement of the swap.
That window, debkafile reports, was the deal the Obama administration had reached with Hamas leaders and their parent, the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood’s rift with Tehran.
The Prime Minister thanked the Egyptian government and intelligence agencies for their great contribution toward brokering the deal. He also voiced appreciation for the efforts of the German mediator and Chancellor Angela Merkel who gave the process her wholehearted support.
As to the backdoor diplomacy leading to Gilad Shalit’s release, debkafile further discloses that recognizing the rising electoral strength of the Muslim Brotherhood and its Salafi allies in Egypt’s forthcoming parliamentary elections next month, the Obama administration entered into active dialogue with its leaders to draw them away from Tehran and bring them close to the ruling military junta and Washington.
Shortly before Panetta arrived in the Middle East, a US diplomat revealed that US officials had arrived in Cairo on Oct. 2 for talks with Brotherhood representatives. The American side was headed by Prem. G. Kumar, the National Security Council Director for Israeli and Palestinian Affairs at the White House.
This was the first clue that the White House was after a deal not only with the Brotherhood but also its Palestinian offshoot Hamas, part of which was to be the release of the Israeli soldier.
Two days later, on Oct. 4, the US Defense Secretary arrived to seal the accord while in another part of Cairo, the Israeli prime minister’s personal representative David Meidan and the commander of Hamas’ military wing, Ezz a-din al Qassam, Mohammed Jabry, hammered out the minutiae of the prisoner exchange for Shalit’s release.
Netanyahu referred to the heavy price Israel was paying in terms of security by letting a thousand terrorists walk free – scores much Israeli blood on their hands. But he also paid a heavy political price: Israel’s acceptance of the United States’ rapprochement with the Egyptian Muslim brothers – henceforth dubbed in Obama administration parlance a “moderate Muslim force.”
Israelcan only hope that this gamble pays off.
By procuring the release of 1,000 Palestinians from Israeli jails, Hamas has outperformed is rival, the Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas as the lead champion of the Palestinian cause. After defying the Obama administration by applying for UN recognition for Palestinian statehood, Abbas is now getting his punishment.