17 July 2008

The Israel -- Hezbollah Prisoner Swap is Underway

Hezbollah really needs to spend some money and recruit some good public relations people, as they simple have absolutely no idea on how to handle a significant event! In an earlier post I alluded to the cruelty of playing up the possibility that the two Israeli soldiers, Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev, that Hezbollah was required to hand over under the deal, were alive. The reality, as most people expected, was finally confirmed today.

Hezbollah handed over two black coffins today to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). The ICRC then drove the coffins into Israel. The remains were confirmed to be those of Goldwasser and Regev (photo by Issam Kobeisy / Reuters).

The second reason Hezbollah needs some PR people is this statement by one Mr. Safa who was operating as the spokesperson for Hezbollah, "We are now handing over the two imprisoned Israeli soldiers, who were captured by the Islamic resistance on July 12, 2006, to the ICRC." He then went on with this, "The Israeli side will now hand over the great Arab mujahid (holy warrior) ... Samir Qantar and his companions to the ICRC." I am using PR people here in the manner that most organizations would use them for crisis or message management.

There is nothing holy about Samir Qantar. Qantar is a cold-blooded child killer, plain and simple. His release is sure to leave a bitter taste in the mouths of many Israelis. To rub salt into this wound Hezbollah has a wide range of festivities planned to celebrate the release. There should be little doubting why some countries want to classify Hezbollah as a terrorist organization when you celebrate child killers as holy warriors or mujahideen. Any legitimacy that an organization might have had is lost when it glorifies child killers.

I wonder who is getting the best deal in all this prisoner swapping and the returning of remains?

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