Centanni: The bastards tickled my feet

They also asked him to write a letter to Bush telling him “Islam is good” and to stop calling Islamic fascists “Islamic fascists.” Centanni’s reply: “I can tell him, but I don’t think he’s going to listen.” Heh.

A good read at B&C, but these two passages merit blockquoting:

Have you figured out or learned why you were abducted?

We think there were three different groups with different motives. The guys who actually nabbed us off the street who were probably a mob for hire, hired muscle. We were turned over to guys who were probably the ringleaders. We believe they were part of a clan or a mafia group—street thugs who decided they wanted some political leverage with Hamas. I think it ultimately backfired. They felt so much condemnation for what they did that that’s probably why we were released.

There was a third faction which is new in Gaza, sort of a wannabe-jihadist group. They were the young guys who were keeping us in the house. They seemed very passionate about their religion and their worldwide political goals—not so much what’s happening for Palestinian people, but that Bush “declared war” on Islam. I think they emulated Al Qaeda and certainly emulated Osama bin Laden. They said, ‘Osama is king.’ They wanted to put themselves on the map but don’t have the connections they claim and the power they wish they did.

Debka ID’d the mob for hire before Centanni and Wiig were released. Time magazine advanced the theory that the ringleaders were trying to gain leverage with Hamas on the day of. And the blogosphere’s own Rusty Shackleford sealed the deal by predicting the involvement of what he called “Al Qaeda 3.0.” Nice job all around.

B&C also asked him about the conversion — a subject that has not, to my knowledge, been broached in his subsequent appearances on Fox.

In the final tape, you and Wiig said they “converted” you to Islam. How much did you know about Islam going in?

I have great respect for the Islamic faith and learned a lot about it during captivity. I won’t really have any comment one way or the other about the conversion. They gave us the Quran and a lot of other books, and told us things and I know more about it now than ever.

Not sure why he’s being so coy about this, unless he thinks it’ll cause major problems for him once he returns to covering the Middle East. Which, let us acknowledge, it very well may.

Speaking of hostages, the boss is all over the proposed deal for Gilad Shalit. Her info is ever so slightly outdated in two respects: one, the rumors are credible enough that Mahmoud Abbas himself has now confirmed them, and two, it sounds like the deal’s for 800 Palestinian prisoners, not 1,000. 300 will be freed up front, another 300 concurrently with Shalit, and then 200 more before the end of the year. At that rate, all they’d have to do is kidnap 11 more soldiers and they could clear out the Israeli prisons “and concentration camps” entirely.

The good news? In a break with tradition, at least they’re exchanging these prisoners for someone who’s alive.