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    A Swap?

     On Sunday, June 1st, Israel released Nessim Nisr. According to Hezbollah, this move was part of a swap deal with Israel, according to which Hezbollah sends to Israel body parts of Israeli soldiers killed in Lebanon during the July 2006 war and the Jewish State releases Nessim Nisr and sends him back to Lebanon.

    Nessim Nisr was arrested in Israel in 2002 and sentenced to 6 years of prison. His Israeli citizenship and passport were also revoked. Nisr actually served his sentence. Since he no longer has the Israeli citizenship and no official document to live in Israel, the only place where he could settle was Lebanon.

    What happened with Nessim Nisr was supposed to happen with or without a swap deal.

    Hezbollah officials once again show how much they master strategic communications. They made everybody believe that what happened was a swap. They successfully hid the fact that the only concession in the latest development was from their side.

    Yet, it is clear that channels for a real swap between Hezbollah and Israel are in fact open and that Hezbollah sending body parts to Israel was a first gesture from Hezbollah – a “down payment” – for a deal that will materialize later.

    The lame duck situation of Ehud Olmert perhaps accelerated the discussions, because both sides want to conclude some deal before Benjamin Netanyahu takes office as Israel’s new Prime Minister. Olmert wants to show his people that he is able to negotiate and meet success on the prisoners’ front. Hassan Nasrallah wants to fulfill one of his numerous promises before a more radical government is sworn in in Israel.

    Once again, Hezbollah leaders show that they can make people believe whatever they say. Once again, Hezbollah’s opponents fail to detect early enough and respond to the Party of God‘s communications tricks.

    March-14’s role however must not be limited to exposing Hezbollah and countering its communication. A March-14, or better, a governmental approach to the prisoners’ issue has to be devised, with all its local, international and intelligence components.

    Hezbollah’s communication pays because the party gives the impression that it delivers. Without the idea of “delivering” in mind, confronting Hezbollah on the political and media fronts will be extremely difficult.

    2 responses to “A Swap?”

    1. Nadim Jalbout says:

      Interesting analysis!

    2. Nadim K. says:

      Yet another Hizbullah “Victory”. Mabrook Lebnen!!

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