'UK refuses to release report on Israeli soldiers MIA'

'Jewish Chronicle' reports British withholding information on fate of soldiers for fear of harming ties with Syria.

By JPOST.COM STAFF
December 18, 2010 17:39
1 minute read.
An IDF tank maneuvers on the northern border, Tuesday.

IDF tank lebanon border 311 AP. (photo credit: Associated Press)

The British government has refused to release documents containing information on the fate of three Israeli soldiers missing since 1982, because it claims the sensitive material could harm diplomatic ties with Syria, The Jewish Chronicle reported.

In June 1982, the three Israeli soldiers, Zachary Baumel, Yehuda Katz and Zvi Feldman, went missing after clashing with Syrian and Palestinian troops near the Lebanese village of Sultan Yaqub during the Lebanon War. They are still officially missing in action.

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The UK's ambassador to Syria, Ivor Lucas, submitted a report to London on the day of the clash, and may have seen the soldiers' capture by Syrian troops, The Chronicle said.

A legal group from Manchester, acting on behalf of Zachary Baumel's mother Miriam, is reportedly taking action over the silence from the UK government, demanding the release of the information.

According to the report Miriam Baumel has unsuccessfully been lobbying the UK government to see the Lucas report for two years. She has repeatedly been rebuffed with the Foreign Office response: "We are conscious that the release of sensitive information would cause harm to our relationship with Syria."

 "I just want the public to know this is a humanitarian matter," the Chronicle quoted Baumel as saying. "We keep getting information that these boys and my son were seen in Damascus and that there were witnesses, and anyone who saw something or who could help must help. I feel the possibilities are great that he is still alive, but certainly the families of those who were seen in Damascus are entitled to closure,"  she added.



"I am calling on the British government to act in a humanitarian manner and let the families know by releasing this document, for us to go further in finding our children. If you have children, if one of your children would be lost, how would you feel?" Baumel added.


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