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Summary Of Editorials, Hebrew Press, 17 Jul 2008

(Via Israel Government Press Office, 17 Jul 2008)

Summary Of Editorials From The Hebrew Press, 17 Jul 2008

All newspapers discuss various aspects of yesterday's exchange deal with Hizbullah:

Ma'ariv suggests that, "Hizbullah is much better than the IDF and the other official bodies in information battles. Even yesterday, despite the IDF's major effort to control the pictures being broadcast from the long day, the most remembered scene is the one Hizbullah wanted. While the IDF prepared to have generals notify the families about the situation of the abductees, the coffins were being shown to the world in a live broadcast. How humiliating."

The editors call on the government "to focus on the negotiations to return Gilad Shalit from the Gaza Strip," and add, "The justification for paying a high price for Gilad is much greater than was for the price that was paid yesterday for bodies."

The paper recalls that at the beginning of the Second Lebanon War, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert "declared that he would not negotiate for the return of the abductees and that Hizbullah would be crushed," and believes that in the event of future abductions, Israel "should negotiate and attack, and attack and negotiate," because "that could be the way to restore Israeli deterrence, which suffered another blow yesterday."

Yediot Aharonot asserts that "Hizbullah has good reason to hold Israel in contempt," because "Hizbullah knew what was kept hidden from Israelis: The report on Ron Arad never had any significance or relevance regarding the latest exchange deal, and was only a fig leaf for domestic Israeli needs, to cover the fact that Hizbullah had already made other commitments to Israel about Ron Arad - and did not keep them." The editors believe that "Nasrallah skillfully exploited the atmosphere that was created in the country and it was much easier for him to wage psychological warfare against the Israeli public."

Haaretz writes: "The Israeli mourning over our fatalities and the celebrations in Lebanon over the release of Kuntar were an emotional response to the recognition that, after two years and four days, the war that began on July 12, 2006, with the kidnapping of Goldwasser and Regev, has officially ended. From this point on, what is needed is a serious reassessment of the Israeli position on how we differentiate between exchanges involving live prisoners and dead soldiers - a differentiation that has become worryingly blurred in Israeli society. One can certainly understand the Goldwasser and Regev families, who, until the very last moment, were unable to accept that their sons were no longer alive and needed clear-cut proof to start the mourning process. It is harder to understand the addiction of an entire country to an illusion that was orchestrated by Hizbullah."

The Jerusalem Post writes: "Lebanon yesterday celebrated the return of four Hizbullah terrorists, along with Samir Kuntar. Mocking the notion that much distinction remains between Hizbullah and the Lebanese government, Prime Minister Fuad Saniora and President Michel Suleiman extended an official state welcome, declared a national holiday, and greeted the five freed prisoners at Beirut's airport.

In Israel, by way of the starkest contrast, dignity was the order of the day: the dignity with which the Israeli side handled enemy remains; the dignity of Smadar Haran, who had asked the prime minister and cabinet not to take into consideration her pain in their deliberations about the exchange; and, not least, the dignity with which the Regev and Goldwasser families began to mourn their fallen - not in anger, but in sorrow.

There are things Israel must now do to prevent another kidnapping, including renewed vigilance on both the Lebanon and Gaza borders, and ensuring the return of Gilad Shalit. But in moving ahead, Israel must now, in its collective mourning, draw strength from its human instincts of dignity and morality - instincts which as of yesterday stand in ever starker relief with the barbarism of its enemies. Hizbullah's greatest loss, perhaps, has been its standing in the eyes of principled people everywhere, who can now see the difference between a political culture that valorizes brutality and celebrates a killer as its national conscience, and one that manages a quiet dignity even in the most trying of times."

[Alex Fishman and Amir Rapoport wrote today's articles in Yediot Aharonot and Ma'ariv, respectively.]


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