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Thursday, August 31, 2006

LA Times: Israel Pegs Its Pullout to Release of Captives; JPost and Haaretz: Maybe

The Los Angeles Times is reporting that not only is Israel insisting on deployment of the 'international force' before it lifts its air and sea blockade on Lebanon; it is also insisting on the unconditional release of kidnapped IDF soldiers Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser. According to the Times, Hezbullah is saying that an unconditional release is not in the cards, and they can only be released in exchange for prisoners terrorists.

But the Jerusalem Post is reporting that Lebanese Prime Minister puppet Fuad Siniora is 'considering' a prisoner swap for Lebanese terrorists held in Israel, and a 'senior political official' in Israel said that Israel would be willing to negotiate if Regev and Goldwasser are first turned over to the Lebanese government. And Haaretz is quoting Italian Premier Romano Prodi who is quoting Israeli 'deputy Prime Minister' Shimon Peres as saying that Israel will withdraw from Lebanon once there are 5000 'international' troops in place. Haaretz points out that it was not immediately clear what Peres defined as a pullout, as Israel has handed over more than two-thirds of the land captured in the war with Hezbollah to the United Nations and began to pull out its troops soon after a truce came into effect.

Nothing like keeping your bargaining chips in hand, is there?

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