Ashkenazi’s disclosure on kidnapped soldier raises ire

Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi commented Monday, Aug. 4: We know where Gilead Shalit is held and who is holding him.”
debkafile‘s military sources report that the general’s incautious remark during a visit to new recruits at the armored corps basic training camp aroused widespread disapproval. These sources said that the obvious result would be for the Palestinian kidnappers who snatched the Israeli soldier Gilead Shalit in a cross-border raid from Gaza more than a year to move him to a new hiding place.
Furthermore, they would take the opportunity to mock the IDF’s inability to rescue him.
debkafile‘s sources point out that in the past 24 hours, Israel’s defense chiefs have demonstrated rashness, an inability to stick to a decision and muddled thinking – not once but twice.
Sunday morning, they agreed to a large group of Fatah loyalists in flight from a Hamas crackdown in Gaza, which has left 11 dead, transiting Israel on their way to Ramallah “on humanitarian grounds.”
A few hours later, they reversed their decision and began sending the first group back to the Gaza Strip, where they were rounded up by Hamas. Some were subjected to torture.
The way the deadly Hamas-Fatah conflict in the Gaza Strip was handled had three untoward consequences:
1. Israel was dragged back into internal Palestinian affairs in the Gaza Strip in a gross departure from the entire object of its disengagement from the territory in 2005.
2. By extending a helping hand to Hamas’ foes, Israel may have worsened Shalit’s situation; it certainly did not improve his chances of freedom.
3. Mahmoud Abbas, chairman of the Palestinian Authority, showed far less humanity than Israel for his Fatah fellows. He forced Israel’s change of mind by trying to deny “terrorists” from Gaza sanctuary on the West Bank.
Israel’s security heads then changed their minds again and announced that the fugitives from Gaza would be transferred to Ramallah, the seat of the Abbas’ government, after all.
Ashkenazi’s remark, far from assuring the new recruits that they are in safe, steady hands, will have the opposite effect.

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