Israeli News: A Daily Analysis
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A Daily Analysis
By Marc Schulman

May 26, 2008 Prisoner Deal In Lebanon Possible

The news today was dominated by reports that Israel has reached an agreement on the release of Israeli captives in Lebanon. The agreement reportedly calls for the release of Kuntar Samir, the Lebanese terrorist, who carried out Nahariya terrorist attack in 1979.Today,Hezbollah Secretary General, Hassan Nasrallah, announced in a celebratory address in Lebanon that Samir would soon be home. It seems that Nasrallah feels he is a position of strength now. After yesterday's political victory in Lebanon the timing is right to arrange the prisoner exchange. Reportedly, Nasrallah is said to have agreed to drop his demand that the exchange includes Palestinians. This has led observers to believe there is little chance the soldiers are alive- we are arranging an exchange of Samir for bodies. That would be a large mistake- giving Nasrallah bragging rights of bringing Samir home for bodies is the wrong message.

Commentary and analysis continue today on talks with Syria. The Syrian Defense Minister visited Teheran both yesterday and today. The discussion appears to be based on whether Assad thinks he can reach a deal with Israel without breaking ties with Iran. There is little agreement on this matter, with many believing Assad thinks he can. Of course most of this is irrelevant. Olmert's government is now unable to appoint a Minister of Tourism or chairman of the Finance committee.The idea that Olmert could negotiate a peace agreement with Syria at the moment is laughable. Of course, tomorrow comes the testimony of Talansky in open court. For the first time in Israel's history, or to the best of my knowledge recent western history, we are likely to hear testimony accusing a Prime Minister receiving cash payments in envelopes.