Incentives Work

We criticized Israel’s decision to release more than 1,000 Palestinians terrorists and criminals in exchange for the kidnapped Gilad Schalit. It was, of course, a wrenching decision, and we are sympathetic to the officials who had to make it. But we (and many others) predicted that the inevitable consequence would be to encourage more such terrorist kidnappings. Sure enough:

[A] senior IDF commander said on Wednesday that motivation to kidnap Israeli soldiers has significantly increased since the prisoner swap for Gilad Schalit.

According to Col. Tal Hermoni, commander of the Gaza Division’s Southern Brigade, Hamas, Islamic Jihad and other terrorist groups in the Gaza Strip are working to abduct Israeli soldiers and are digging tunnels that could be used in such an attack. …

There were people working in Gaza “on a daily basis” in the tunnel industry, and Israel was investing significant resources to gather intelligence and locate those tunnels to limit the element of surprise if they were to be used in a future attack, he said. …

Hermoni said the abduction of a soldier would have “strategic significance” for Israel, and the IDF was working on several levels to prevent such an attack and to thwart one if it were launched.

The “strategic significance” comes, I take it, from the fact that the Schalit kidnapping was such a rousing success. So now Israel has to deal with the consequences. As always, incentives matter.

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