Ron Arad as Olmert’s Political Tool

Well, it looks like the deal to swap swap child murderer Samir Kantar for the remains of two Israeli soldiers has hit a snag, Olmert is insisting that there can be no deal without the return of Ron Arad.

The first thing that I will say is that I think that these deals for hostages are counter productive, even moreso when the hostages are dead. Releasing Samir Kantar, who killed a 4 year old girl, for some bones is indefensibly stupid.

Bring Ron Arad into the question however, creates an entirely new dynamic.

Arad has been Israel’s Judge Crater, Amelia Earhart, etc., and his status, and there is some evidence is that he is still alive, has been a focus of public concerns for over two decades now.

If he stands tough and there is no deal, Olmert wins politically, because of the public interest in the Arad manner. If he stands tough and gets back bones, he wins politically for the same reason. If Arad comes back alive, Olmert wins the next election even if he is in prison.

It is a masterful political move.

Lousy statecraft, but very good politics.

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