Talking to the enemy

(What is on the table in the offerings with Hezbollah?) The main thing is the exchange of two prisoners who have been held by Hezbollah for the past two years and in return the Israelis will return at least one significant Hezbollah prisoner who's been held for a long time. This is important because it comes in the aftermath of Israel's war against Hezbollah in 2006, when Hezbollah first captured these two Israeli soldiers. (What will this lead to?) I hope it'll lead to a period of calm on the border. I think the Olmert government wants to demonstrate that it can ease tensions on its borders through diplomacy. Some argue the time is the right for a show of force against these forces, but Olmert is going with diplomacy instead. (Is appeasement a real concern, as voiced by the Bush administration?) I don't think you'll hear the Bush administration say that. They understand the Israelis live in a difficult environment. There will be criticism from within Israel if the deal struck seems unbalanced. But there will always be criticism for those who place diplomacy first in Israel. (Regarding Syria, what is the deal there?) Every Prime Minister with Israel has been tempted by a deal with Syria at one point or another and the reason is clear: it has substantial military capability and is the only neighbor which doesn't have a peace deal with Israel. The problem is the price tag: the Golan Heights and each Israeli Prime Minister in the past won't go all the way in those deals. So all this diplomacy is new for Olmert but the public has shown itself to be a bit more moderate lately.

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