Poner fin al tratamiento con tiritas

El Oriente Medio es un polvorín y algunos de los participantes principales de ambos bandos esperan cualquier oportunidad para destruir a sus enemigos con balas, bombas y cohetes. Una de las vulnerabilidades particulares de Israel y causa repetitiva de violencia es la retención de prisioneros. Los palestinos y libaneses militantes saben que un soldado o un civil israelí capturado es ora una causa de conflicto ora una valiosa baza para la negociación con vistas al intercambio de prisioneros. Esa suposición se basa en varios de dichos intercambios, incluidos 1.150 árabes, la mayoría palestinos, por tres israelíes en 1985, 123 libaneses por los restos de dos soldados israelíes en 1996 y 433 palestinos y personas de otros orígenes por un hombre de negocios israelí y los cadáveres de tres soldados en 2004.

Esa estratagema precipitó la reanudación de la violencia que estalló en junio cuando unos palestinos excavaron un túnel bajo la barrera que rodea a Gaza, asaltaron a unos soldados israelíes, mataron a dos y capturaron a uno. Ofrecieron la posibilidad de intercambiar al soldado por la liberación de 95 mujeres y 313 niños que figuran entre los casi 10.000 árabes que se encuentran en cárceles israelíes, pero aquella vez Israel rechazó un intercambio y atacó a Gaza para intentar liberar al soldado y poner fin al fuego de cohetes contra el interior de Israel. La destrucción resultante propició la reconciliación entre las facciones palestinas enfrentadas y el apoyo a ellas de todo el mundo árabe.

Después unos militantes de Hizbolá mataron en el sur del Líbano a tres soldados israelíes y capturaron a otros dos e insistieron en la retirada de Israel del territorio en disputa y el intercambio de los soldados israelíes por varios miles de libaneses encarcelados. Con el respaldo estadounidense, una lluvia de bombas y cohetes iraelíes cayó sobre el Líbano. Cohetes de Hizbolá facilitados por Siria y el Irán golpeaban el norte de Israel.

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