Monday, August 25, 2008

The High Price of Ransom - What's a Terrorist Worth?

The New York Sun's Hillel Halkin addresses the ultimate price to be paid by Israel for its exchange of murderer Samir Kuntar for the bodies of two dead Israeli soldiers, Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser. "Predictions about the consequences of a country's behavior usually take time to come to pass. The chickens don't come home to roost from one day to the next," he writes.

Has the chicken come home to roost? It looks so, as Egypt has announced that its efforts to obtain the release of kidnapped Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit have failed because Hamas has upped the ante in view of the price Israel was willing to pay for Regev's and Goldwasser's remains.

What does Halkin suggest? Simple, new rules take effect, and the announcement would read:

"Gentlemen, the rules have changed. From now on, there will be no more bargaining over prisoners or hostages. There will be a fixed price — and it will be one of absolute parity. For one dead Israeli, you get one dead Arab. For one live Israeli, one live Arab. For any multiple of that, you get the multiple, no more and no less."

Halkin thinks the sooner the Israeli government adopts such a rule, the better off it will be. As the price of hostage taking goes up, its incentive falls.

Read "The High Price of Ransom."

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