Notch a victory for Nasrallah who masterfully negotiated two dead men for Israel’s best asset to get Ron Arad back. He’s also proven his abilities at psychological warfare once again.
Notch a severe loss and mishandling of the situation to the Olmert government and coalition who proceeded with the lousy deal even after all the Israeli intelligence services maintained the Hizbullah report on Arad was a sham.
And yet, there is something so patently obvious about the differences between the ethical values of the two sides on this trade, that at least Israel can walk away with a moral victory. It’s not much comfort, but it’s important. Israel can also tell its soldiers and their families that they will be cared for if they should fall prisoner in Arab hands.
By the way, Hamas’s price for the release of Gilad Shalit has just gone way up. After all, he’s alive. Israel’s government cannot, in good faith, tell his family or the Israeli public that a living soldier isn’t worth much more than two dead ones. They also will be hard-pressed to make the argument that they can’t release terrorists with “blood on their hands” in exchange for him when they’ve released Kuntar for the dead Goldwasser and Regev.