Voice of America is reporting that Israel, in a 22-3 vote has agreed to hand over 5 live Hezbollah prisoners in exchange for 2 dead Israeli soldiers.
Under the deal, Israel will release Samir Kantar – a Lebanese guerrilla who is serving multiple life terms – as well as four Hezbollah prisoners, in exchange for two Israeli soldiers captured in the cross-border raid by Hezbollah in 2006 that sparked the second Lebanon War. Israel will also return dozens of bodies of Hezbollah militants killed in military action.
The two Israeli soldiers, Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev, are believed to be dead. The swap has sparked controversy in Israel. Relatives of the victims killed by Samir Kantar have gone to court to block his release. Kantar was convicted of killing a policeman and then a second man and his four-year-old daughter. A second child in the family died after being accidentally smothered by its mother who was trying to hide from Kantar.
One thing about Israel, as controversial as the one-sided exchanges always are…they value their dead…they want them home.
JERUSALEM (CNN) — Israel agreed to release a notorious killer Sunday in order to bring closure to the families of three missing military men, a government spokesman said.
“We have an obligation, a moral obligation to their families to bring finality,” Regev said. “That if they are in fact no longer living, that their families can have a funeral, that they can have a grave, that they can know that this is over.”
Background on the two deceased Israeli soldiers from the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs – June 25, 2008
Almost two years have passed since the unprovoked abduction of Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser on the Israeli side of the Lebanese border on July 12, 2006 – an action that precipitated widespread confrontation between Israel and the Lebanon-based Hizbullah terrorist organization. To date no word has been heard from the two captive soldiers, and neither their families nor the government of Israel have any knowledge of their whereabouts or their current state of health. Especially grave is the fact that these unprovoked abductions were carried out on sovereign Israeli territory.
On June 25, 2006 IDF soldier Gilad Shalit, was abducted on the Israeli side of the border with Gaza. On the first anniversary of his abduction (25 June 2007), Hamas released a recorded message of Gilad Shalit’s voice – the first sign of life since he was abducted. Shalit’s father Noam indicated that the voice – if not the wording of the message – was that of Gilad.
Addressing the members of the diplomatic corps in Israel, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni said: “Hamas is making cynical use of the suffering of Gilad Shalit, the pain of his family, the pain of the people of Israel, in order to dictate its own brutal agenda in the region, in order to undermine a political process which is taking place right now to create a better future for the region. Hamas is responsible for the life and health of Gilad Shalit, and we, the Israeli government, will take all steps to bring him back home.”
This recording, while an important development, cannot be seen as a substitute for what Hamas must really do: namely, to allow the International Red Cross to immediately visit Gilad Shalit and to allow him to receive proper medical attention.
Woman Honor Thyself