The Israel-Hezbollah swap: cui bono?

ANWAR AMRO/AFP/Getty Images In the modern Middle East, victory in war is often in the eye of the beholder. Yesterday’s prisoner swap between Hezbollah and Israel is no exception. Some critics say that Israel gave up too much, while others argue that the deal will only encourage future hostage-taking by the militant Lebanese Shiite group. ...

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593931_080717_hezbollah5.jpg

ANWAR AMRO/AFP/Getty Images

In the modern Middle East, victory in war is often in the eye of the beholder. Yesterday's prisoner swap between Hezbollah and Israel is no exception. Some critics say that Israel gave up too much, while others argue that the deal will only encourage future hostage-taking by the militant Lebanese Shiite group.

As Ari Shavit from Haaretz put it, "Hezbollah is bringing home a living murderer, and Israel is bringing home two dead soldiers - over whose capture it sacrificed 160 other soldiers and civilians."

ANWAR AMRO/AFP/Getty Images

In the modern Middle East, victory in war is often in the eye of the beholder. Yesterday’s prisoner swap between Hezbollah and Israel is no exception. Some critics say that Israel gave up too much, while others argue that the deal will only encourage future hostage-taking by the militant Lebanese Shiite group.

As Ari Shavit from Haaretz put it, “Hezbollah is bringing home a living murderer, and Israel is bringing home two dead soldiers – over whose capture it sacrificed 160 other soldiers and civilians.”

Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah and Co. seem to agree with the Israeli critics, as they threw a huge party for their freed prisoners in Beirut, styling themselves as the victors in this fight.

Not so fast. One leading Arab newspaper, the London-based al-Sharq al-Awsat, noted that, in the final analysis, the deal “cost Hezbollah over $7 billion, more than 1,200 dead and 4,500 wounded Lebanese citizens.”

Ouch. That’s one way to rain on a homecoming parade.

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