It’s probably safe to say there won’t be any Oslo deals with Hamas in the near future.
It could be that Shalit is already dead and Israel knows it, and they’re putting the letter out to give themselves political cover to target Haniyeh (i.e., he had fair warning). If not, expect them to deny having sent the letter in the morning; confirming it would be tantamount to daring Hamas to kill him, which isn’t the most prudent move when dealing with a wacko jihadist honor/shame culture.
Expect some whining tomorrow from the usual suspects about Israel’s willingness to target a democratically elected leader, as though the legitimacy of terrorism depended upon its degree of popular acclaim. The Saudis might elect Osama if given the chance, but that wouldn’t stop us from putting his head on a stick. Or “shouldn’t,” I should probably say; this is Bush we’re talking about, after all.
If Shalit turns up dead, Haniyeh won’t be the only one targeted for termination. The question is, does the hit list also include Assad?
Update: Debka says, contrary to yesterday’s reports, that it’s likely no doctor has examined Shalit.
James Joyner calls Israel’s gambit “stupid beyond words.”
Update: I can’t find anything about this story in this morning’s Israeli papers. Did the Australian blow it? Or is everyone pretending, a la Kennedy with one of Khrushchev’s letters during the Cuban Missile Crisis, that it doesn’t exist?