Last week Israel completed secret negotiations with Hezbollah by arranging for the exchange of the body of a dead Israeli for the bodies of two Hezbollah militants and a prisoner. Prime Minister Olmert, who thus far has failed to retrieve two Israeli soldiers captured by Hezbollah, can now claim his first success in getting an exchange while Nasrallah, the Hezbollar leader, can now boast to the world he is willing to negotiate and compromise. The entire operation was the work of a secret German intelligence officer known simply as “Mr. Hezbollah,” who is a leading expert on the Middle East. He was asked by the UN and former Israel Shinn Beit operator, Ofer Dekel, to draw upon his contacts in Hezbollah to effectuate a transfer of bodies. Although, the incident involves a rather minor issue, it opens the door for potential negotiation between Israel and Hezbollah regarding more important issues.
Once again, there is an example of negotiation instead of war as ways to handle conflict in the world. Olmert launched an ill fated invasion of Lebanon to retrieve two captured Israel soldiers that wound up costing the lives of over a hundred Israelis and a few thousand Lebanese civilians and militants. Perhaps, if Olmert had resorted to behind the scene negotiation the results might have been different.