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November 2, 2006
Iran Torpedoes Shalit Deal

Iran bribed Hamas and Khaled Mashaal in order to convince them to renege on their agreement to release Gilad Shalit, the London Telegraph reports. Israel accused Teheran of paying Hamas and Mashaal 30 million pounds, and have filed an official complaint at the UN:

Israel has accused Iran of scuppering attempts to win the release of Gilad Shalit, the Israeli corporal captured by Palestinian militants near Gaza, by paying the militant Palestinian Islamic group Hamas £30 million not to agree to a prisoner exchange.

Dan Gillerman, Israel's ambassador to the United Nations, said Teheran paid Khaled Meshaal, the hard-line Hamas leader who lives as an exile in Damascus, to ruin any chance of a negotiated settlement to this summer's Gaza crisis. "The Iranians paid him £30 million in order to avert and sabotage an imminent release," the ambassador said in New York.

"I informed the Security Council of news that we received, that we have every reason to believe that the Iranian regime has bribed Khaled Meshaal. I believe that the Security Council is worried about this and I hope that these worries will be translated into action very swiftly." Negotiations brokered by Egypt's intelligence chief appeared to be moving towards a deal two months ago that would have seen Cpl Shalit exchanged for around 1,000 Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails, only to collapse suddenly.

Egypt certainly expected Hamas to honor the agreement that would have traded Shalit for 1,000 Palestinian prisoners. They made their displeasure known publicly, an unusual step for Cairo when brokering agreements between the Palestinians and Israel. The collapse of the deal embarrassed Egypt, but their concerns lie with the deteriorating situation in Gaza. Hosni Mubarak wants Israel out of Gaza and the political situation to stabilize so that the border becomes less of a liability for Egypt.

Apparently, Iran wants something else entirely. The mullahcracy must see opportunity in the chaos -- an opportunity to spread the radical Islamism of Hamas and Islamic Jihad. The 30 million pounds will buy a lot of weapons for Hamas, as well as more influence in the territories.

Unfortunately, the UN will not likely do much to address Israel's complaint. So far, the Security Council has shown great reluctance to stop Iran from arming itself with nuclear weapons. It's not going to break a sweat over a kidnapped Israeli soldier.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at November 2, 2006 5:43 AM

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Tracked on November 2, 2006 11:49 AM


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