Tuesday, September 23, 2003
If this story is true (which it may very well not be), the Israeli security forces are in serious need of a Clue Retrieval Team:
A German mediator told two top Lebanese detainees held by Israel that intense efforts are being made to free them as part of large-scale swap between Israel and Lebanese guerrillas, their lawyer said Tuesday.

On Monday, a Palestinian source said the deal would also include uprising leader Marwan Barghouti and hundreds of other Arab prisoners held by Israel.

The popular Barghouti, who is on trial in Israel for his alleged role in terror attacks that killed 26 Israelis, is the West Bank leader of Yasser Arafat's Fatah movement and is considered a possible successor to Arafat.
The key paragraph is here, albeit from a suspect source:
A Palestinian source close to the negotiations said Israel has agreed in principle to release Dirani, Obeid and about 400 Arab prisoners, including at least 200 Palestinians, in exchange for Israeli businessman Elhanan Tannenbaum and the bodies of three Israeli soldiers kidnapped by Hezbollah in 2000.
So the Israelis are exchanging 400 Arabs, including a terrorist mastermind, for one man and three dead bodies?! What... the... hell? Look, I understand the families' need to bury their dead, but plenty of other Israelis never made it back home for burial, and releasing this scum will only encourage the Arabs to generate more dead Israeli bodies. As negotiations go, the Arabs -- the Hizbullah, for crying out loud! -- get one sweet bargain here. Who negotiated this thing?

I will say once again that the AP is using some questionable sources here, and this could all very well be Arab propaganda ahead of the deal. I do hope so, because I find nothing positive here, and this justification isn't exactly inspiring of confidence:

An Israel-Hezbollah prisoner swap including prominent Palestinians would strengthen [Palestinian Prime Minister-designate Ahmed Qureia] and might also help get the stalled, U.S.-backed "road map" peace plan back on track.
Please, not this "Roadmap" roundabout again...


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