Sometimes, for those who pay attention, the stars align and produce spectacular effects in the cosmos and on earth. A similar effect can occasionally be produced through journalism.
On June 26, the Washington Post featured three stories on its World News page that should teach a lesson to anyone who wishes to pay attention. The top story was headlined, "Olmert Makes ŒGesture of Goodwill': At Summit in Egypt, Israeli Leader Pledges to Seek Release of 250 Palestinian Prisoners."
The story just below featured this headline: "Israeli Soldier, on Tape, Pleads for Prisoner Swap: A Year After Capture, (Gilad) Shalit Says He Needs To Be Hospitalized."
The third story's headline was "Hope Dims For Imminent Release of BBC Reporter."
Is Olmert self-deluded, or merely dumb, when he promises to engage in one more in a long list of "goodwill gestures" that have produced no reciprocity from Israel's enemies? I'm leaning toward the latter.
When Israel has previously released prisoners who were captured because many of them had killed, or tried to kill, Israelis, many returned to the company of their jihadist brothers and plotted to kill again. On occasion, Israel might have received one kidnapped Israeli soldier or civilian hostage in return for freeing hundreds of prisoners, but mostly it got nothing.
During Olmert's visit to Washington last week, I asked a "senior Israeli official" if he had tried to persuade Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas to eliminate the outrageous programming on Palestinian TV, which regularly glorifies suicide bombers and calls for the killing of Jews and the elimination of Israel. The official, who requested anonymity as a condition for speaking, said, "I have made the request before" but without results. If Abbas will not order the cessation of anti-Semitic programming on the TV station he controls, what makes Olmert think the release of 250 Palestinian prisoners will make him more agreeable to anything intended to ensure Israel's survival?