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Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Eurabia: The good, the bad and the ugly - Part 3 - The Ugly (The Kidnapped Soldiers)

There are several stories coming out of Europe relating to Israel today. Some of them strain credibility, others may be wishful thinking. But I'm going to try to separate them out for you so that you will hopefully be aware of what is going on. I started to do this as one post, but decided it was too long and cut it into three. This is Part 3 - The Ugly. The really, really ugly.

The ugly - The ugly is really ugly and it's the way Israel and Eurabia are handling the fate of kidnapped IDF soldiers Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev (I left Gilad Shalit out on purpose, because he is a separate issue). Olmert's statement about Goldwasser and Regev the other day was ugly, but it's only gotten worse.

Yesterday, European Union Ambassador to Israel Ramiro Cibrian-Uzal, told The Jerusalem Post that Israel did not have sufficient proof that the two soldiers Hizbullah kidnapped on the Lebanese border last July were still alive.
Cibrian-Uzal said Israel knows much more about the fate of Gilad Shalit, whom Hamas kidnapped on the Gaza border at the end of June, than it does about Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev. [This is why I left Shalit out of the picture in this post. CiJ]

"My understanding is that Israel has received proof that Shalit is alive and in reasonably good condition. On the basis of this proof, Israel is negotiating the release of Gilad Shalit," Cibrian-Uzal said.

"No similar proof has been received with respect to the other two abducted soldiers in Lebanon and therefore there are no negotiations for their eventual release," Cibrian-Uzal said.

He added that, "Israel would like to receive proof of their condition before engaging in any negotiations." According to Cibrian-Uzal, the prime minister had no "ideological reservations" about negotiating for their release. But he needs proof that they are alive, "as a prior condition," he said.
Goldwasser's mother Mikki told the Jerusalem Post that she believes that he is alive:
"That is why I stay so strong. I know that I need to deliver my strength to him," she said.

But comments like the ones Olmert made on Monday were upsetting, she said.

"Our prime minister should think before he speaks," Goldwasser said, even though she acknowledged that "no one had received any signs of life" from the two young men.

Not even the Red Cross could reach them, she said.

"I want to ask everyone to help us" receive a sign that they are alive and secure their release, Goldwasser said. She added that humanitarian actions such as this were the first rule of a free country.
Upsetting is putting it mildly. Today, Eyal Regev, brother of kidnapped soldier Eldad Regev, said that he and his family fail to understand Olmert's recent statements and their purpose. I think they're in good company, because most of the country feels the same way.

Meanwhile defenseless Defense Minister Amir Comrade Peretz responded to Cibrian-Uzal today by telling Army Radio that all the information that Israel had on the welfare of kidnapped IDF reservists Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev would be handed over to their families alone.
"The information must remain confidential," he said, adding, "Negotiations are not conducted in the media."
Does he expect the families to negotiate?

YNet has Peretz saying almost the same thing in response to Olmert's statements:
Asked about recent statements by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, and hints regarding the captives' condition, Peretz said that all details in the matter must remain confidential.

"Everything must remain classified, in order to obtain the best results," Peretz said. "Negotiations should not be conducted through the media. Any attempt to hold talks through the media is wrong."

"The prisoner exchange is not being planned through the media, and names and options should certainly not be discussed. Efforts need to be invested, and we have done so and continue to do so. Sometimes, when you talk less you do more," he stated.

Peretz concluded by saying that, "Our obligation is to return the soldiers home. This is a principle that stands above all others."
YNet is also reporting today that Israel turned down an offer of 'information' about Goldwasser and Regev - in exchange for Samir al-Kuntar. YNet reports that Olmert recently issued a statement saying that Israel will not pay an "excessive price" for information on the fate of kidnapped soldiers Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev. That statement related to Kuntar.
According to a Yedioth Ahronoth report Wednesday, Olmert's statement relates to an IDF report that was compiled following the kidnapping, and which revealed that the soldiers were seriously injured in the course of battle, and were apparently in need of urgent medical attention.
But here's the silver lining in all the clouds regarding Goldwasser and Regev: Goldwasser's father Shlomo is a mentch. You don't see him trying to negotiate with Hezbullah on his own. And he realizes that the country cannot do an exchange under all circumstances.
The report's findings were brought to the attention of the captives' family. Shlomo Goldwasser, Ehud's father, told the PM that if it turns out that the sons had been killed, there was no point in negotiating over the return of their bodies.

"Israel should not pay for receiving the bodies," Goldwasser said. "If the sons aren't alive, there shouldn't be any deal at all."

Despite the difficult report, Israel continues talks with Hizbullah based on the working premise that the captives are still alive.
Let's hope that Goldwasser and Regev are alive and return home soon, safe and sound.


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