Mahmoud Abbas
Mahmoud Abbas Flash 90

While many analysts in Israel see the government's deal to free Gilad Shalit as a surrender to terrorism, at least one defense policy expert paints the move as a well thought out one, designed to punish Fatah by rewarding Hamas.

Writing in the American Thinker, Shoshana Bryen explains the timing of the deal by recounting that Fatah chief Mahmoud Abbas recently went to the United Nations and asked one of its bodies, UNESCO, to  recognize the Palestinian Authority as a state. This breach of the Oslo agreements angered Israel, she writes, and caused it to strengthen Fatah's rival Hamas by concluding the deal with it.

"The Israeli government is acknowledging widespread public disillusionment with the 'peace process' and signaling its end," she says. "At the same time, it is removing Hamas's hostage – just in case hostilities become inevitable as Hamas smuggles increasingly sophisticated weaponry into Gaza from the increasingly lawless Sinai. And just in case the Muslim Brotherhood wins the Egyptian election, giving Hamas a new ally."

"Expect the Israelis to hunker down and prepare to defend what they believe they have to defend leaving no hostage in the hands of Hamas," she predicts. "The era of Israel's willingness to make concessions for the sake of the 'peace process' is over."