Rockets and prisoners

From the Times of Israel:

After long weeks of quiet between Gaza and Israel, today was the day that Grad missiles were fired at Ashkelon, just a few hours after the Netanyahu government approved the release of another 26 prisoners. One can already hear Jewish Home MK Orit Strock crowing that this is proof that releasing prisoners fans the flames of terror.

The truth is there isn’t necessarily a connection between the two. But if there is one, it seems the missile launchers weren’t inspired by the release of the prisoners but rather the opposite: They want to damage what is perceived among the Palestinian public as another achievement for PA President Mahmoud Abbas, who has succeeded once again in getting Israel to release prisoners by just negotiating — not through kidnappings, not through murders, not with a second Gilad Shalit or a prisoner swap.

This formula, that the release of prisoners within the framework of negotiations strengthens Abbas’s position, is known to the Israeli government — even to the ministers of the right-wing Jewish Home, which has cried foul over the release.

In fact, all the noise heard from the Jewish Home in the last months is nothing but media spin.

And:

In any case, the release of veteran prisoners doesn’t encourage terror. Just the opposite: it encourages negotiations. True, these prisoners are murderers, but they carried out their attacks before the Oslo Accords and are now returning to their homes not through violence or terror but within the framework of diplomatic talks.

Their release — and this is important for Jewish Home — attests to the fact that something in the negotiations continues to move forward. Despite the waves of pessimism and the endless eulogies for the talks, some progress has been registered; otherwise, the releases would not happen.

Meetings between the negotiation teams are held all the time, some below the media radar, and neither side is in a hurry to scupper the talks. That is troubling Hamas, and it apparently troubles many in Israel, including in Jewish Home

Interesting. Read it all, here.

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