In Middle Eastern wars, the United Nations is almost always hectoring Israel for being reluctant to seek peace. So it was a stunner when Terje Rød-Larsen--U.N. Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali's "special coordinator" in the occupied territories, Kofi Annan's "personal representative" to Yasir Arafat, Ban Ki-moon's "special representative" for overseeing the cease-fire agreement ending the second Lebanon war, and in his next posting "envoy to the personal representative of the special coordinator for planetary salvation"--lambasted Israel for its recent negotiations with Syria: "Israel has given Syria a huge gift, without thus far receiving anything in return."
It used to be that Israel would move the heavens to rescue its kidnapped soldiers. This is one reason for the daring of so many of its fighting men. In recent years there has been an increase in kidnapping as a battle tactic by both the Palestinians and Hezbollah. Frankly, the Arabs play cruel games with these people (and their relatives), not saying whether they are dead or alive, even those who were captured decades ago. Are Eldad Regev and Udi Goldwasser still in this world? Nasrallah will not say. Gilad Shalit, it is believed, is still alive. Why was he not released in exchange for the last return of Palestinian prisoners? Liat Collins had a story, "Between life and the dead," in the Jerusalem Post some weeks ago detailing this manipulation of sorrow and fear. Dog tags and body parts are transmitted but not accurate information or men who are still breathing. Make peace with these people? This might be the only instance you hear me utter this: I wholeheartedly agree with the U.N. hack.
What amazes me is that these people have so much support among our intellectuals and within our media. Peretz has nailed it as usual but the world doesn't care. So two years down the track, captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit remains a prisoner who has none of the rights accorded to most captives in his situation. Yet, Age cartoonist Petty has sympathy for the supposedly democratically elected Hamas that holds him.