UPDATE: The Jerusalem Post is claiming that all IDF soldiers have been accounted for and the kidnapping apparently was a false alarm. Thanks to reader Nathan for bringing this to my attention.
An astonishing development in Israel: the IDF has announced and a Palestinian militant group confirmed that it abducted an Israeli soldier in the center of Israel. Though the police have thrown up roadblocks throughout the area, given the announcement from the abductors that they’d completed the operation, it seems likely they have made their escape. It goes without saying that this new development complicates everything. It complicates the negotiations for Gilad Shalit’s freedom (the other abducted IDF soldier held by Hamas). It complicates U.S. attempts for a settlement freeze. Whenever Israel’s security is threatened, Israelis retreat into a security shell and are unwilling to entertain the idea of flexibility in any form.
This kidnapping is unlike the previous Shalit event because the latter was captured while on duty on the Israeli border with Gaza. This one occured within Israel proper and means that the kidnappers infiltrated the country and procured a car. All this would entail a fairly extensive operation involving a number of co-conspirators. This will shock Israel and rattle the nerves of the entire country. The Shin Bet will be on the carpet for this major breach of national security. Policitians will outdo themselves in nationalist bellicosity. There will be calls for retaliation and worse. It will get ugly.
Almost no one in Israel will face the nasty truth that the status quo is not viable. That there will always be horrible events like this unless there is real peace with real negotiations and real compromises in which each side gives up something it doesn’t want to give up. Israelis naturally prefer to be lulled by things as they are. They don’t like to contemplate giving up anything for the sake of an unknown. It seems almost an impossibility to convince them otherwise in the midst of such trauma. How do you ask a human being to look past the current woe to see that the only way to avoid future woe is by stepping into the unknown; and that the unknown is better than the known because the former will only lead to more such trauma?