Monday, July 03, 2006

Israel Cannot Afford To Bargain With Muslim Fanatics Who Hold Soldier

The lesson with terrorists is clear: Bargaining with them when they kidnap, murder or bomb will only lead to more kidnappings, murders and bombings.

Israel cannot afford to follow the silly, stupid urgings of Steven Spielberg in the movie, "Munich, and his ilk, and give up its fight against what the press so often improperly calls "militants," but who are in fact bloodthirsty terrorists.

From the early hours of the kidnapping of the 19-year-old soldier, Gilad Shalit, the evil people who captured him have not, as so many urge, followed the Geneva Convention. From the earliest hours, they have demanded that Israel free hundreds of prisoners, without, however, ever producing any guarantee that Shalit would then be released. Now, they have given the Israelis a 24-hour ultimatum: Free 1,500 prisoners, or they will "close the file" on Shalit.

Even the kidnapper of the Lindbergh baby did not make such demands, and he was properly executed for the baby's murder.

The ultimatum was posted on the Web site of the military wing of the Hamas party, confirming Hamas complicity in the kidnapping.

The answer now can only be an intensification of the Israeli campaign in Gaza, Syria and elsewhere to bring about the destruction of the Hamas government and restore relatively moderate Palestinians to power.

Those involved in any murder of Shalit should all die. And the people of Gaza who elected a party of scoundrels to power should not be spared severe economic consequences. There's a war on, and just like the German and Japanese civilians in World War II, Palestinians are legitimate targets, until, like the Germans and Japanese they are defeated and turn to peaceful pursuits.

We also hear this morning that a third Catholic priest in recent months has been attacked in Turkey by a Muslim fanatic. One of the priests was killed, the other two seriously wounded by stabbings. The Turkish government, tending toward weakness toward Muslim fundamentalists in a state which under Ataturk was determinedly secular, has recently failed to protect Christians in Turkey and should bear the consequences. Certainly, it is not a country that deserves to be admitted to the European Union or receive aid from the U.S.

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The L.A. Times effectively used its three-hour time advantage this morning to produce a much more comprehensive report on the very close Mexican election than the New York Times. This is going to be a big story in the days ahead, as Mexico struggles to see a tight election resolved without violence.

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