Dr. Mordechai Kedar (Ph.D. Bar-Ilan U.) Served for 25 years in IDF Military Intelligence specializing in Arab political discourse, Arab mass media, Islamic groups and the Syrian domestic arena.
This time the message is clear: Gilad Shalit will be executed if we [Israel] do not accept Hamas’s demands. “Mission Over” was the title the clip’s producers gave it. The significance of the clip’s timing-one year after the publication of the last video-lies in the pressure Shalit’s captors are hoping to apply on the Israeli public. The clip raises the question who is behind it. There are several possible answers.
* Hamas’s leadership: the leadership wants to apply pressure on the Israeli public in the hopes that it, in turn, will increase protest and sympathy demonstrations with the Shalit family and step up pressure on the Israeli government so that it capitulates to Hamas’s demands.
* Fatah sources: there are some in Ramallah who are interested in forcing the Hamas leadership to execute Gilad Shalit, so that they will lose their bargaining chip and their means of appearing as the leaders of the struggle against Israel.
* Extremist organizations in Gaza: organizations such a al-Qaida, which seek to embarrass the Hamas leadership by showing an image of a mission that was not completed by the organization, and to depict the Hamas a group of wimps who have the opportunity to kill a Jew but fail to do so.
* Families of prisoners held by Israel, perhaps those who were not on the lists submitted by Hamas: they have been let down by the fact there was no prisoner release for Ramadan and Eid al-Fitr, and they are interested in influencing the Hamas leadership to step up the pressure on Israel, so that it might capitulate to Hamas’s demands.
Be it who it may, and be the intentions as they may, Israel must convey a crystal clear message to Hamas: if as much as a single hair of Gilad Shalit is harmed, then the lives of Ismail Haniya, Mahmoud a-Zahar, Ahmed al-Jaabari, and perhaps a few other good Samaritans will be worthless. Israel will hold them personally responsible for the life and wellbeing of Gilad Shalit and will pursue them until it takes them out. At the same time, intelligence should be gathered and plans made for the release of Gilad Shalit in a military operation.
Dr. Mordechai Kedar (Ph.D. Bar-Ilan U.) Served for 25 years in IDF Military Intelligence specializing in Arab political discourse, Arab mass media, Islamic groups and the Syrian domestic arena. A lecturer in Arabic at Bar-Ilan U., he is also an expert on Israeli Arabs.