GOVERNMENT STATEMENT ON PRISONER EXCHANGE
(Communicated by the Prime Minister's Media Adviser)
Saturday, 24 January, 2004 21:09
[IMRA: Israel is willing to release a terrorist murderer in return for
information regarding the fate of Ron Arad - Ron Arad's actual return is not
required. It should also be noted that Israel has apparently accepted the
principle that the sovereign state of Lebanon has no responsibility for the
open holding of hostages by an armed group within their country.]
The Government of Israel announces that pursuant to its 9.11.2003 decision
( www.israel-mfa.gov.il/mfa/go.asp?MFAH0nyp0 ), an arrangement has
been concluded regarding the return of the three missing IDF soldiers - Sgt.
Adi Avitan, Staff Sgt. Benyamin Avraham and Staff Sgt. Omar Sawaid - who
were kidnapped on 7.10.2000, and abducted citizen Elhanan Tannenbaum
According to the arrangement and as was agreed on by the Cabinet, in
exchange for the return of the aforementioned abducted Israelis, the State
of Israel will release prisoners and detainees being held in its prison
installations and will hand over Lebanese bodies.
The arrangement specifies a mechanism for carrying out a further
arrangement, the goal of which is to secure tangible information on the fate
of captive navigator Ron Arad and return him to his home. According to this
mechanism, Lebanese prisoner Samir Kuntar will be released after Israel
receives concrete proof as to Ron Arad's fate.
The Government of Israel will continue its efforts to fully implement the
arrangement and reiterates its commitment to take any action and make every
effort, and not to rest, until all POWs and MIAs are returned to Israel.
The Government of Israel expresses its deep appreciation for the continuing
efforts of the German government in helping to bring our boys back home.
The Government of Israel appreciates the dedicated work of the team led by