EU envoy: No proof that Eldad and Goldwasser are alive

Cibrian-Uzal: Israel wants proof of their condition before engaging in any negotiations; Olmert: I think that they are still alive.

December 5, 2006 23:22
2 minute read.
goldwasser and regev family 298 ap

goldwasser and regev fam. (photo credit: AP [file])


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Israel lacks proof that the two soldiers Hizbullah kidnapped on the Lebanese border last July are alive, the European Union's Ambassador Ramiro Cibrian-Uzal told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday. Cibrian-Uzal said that the knowledge Israel possesses regarding the fate of Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev, differs from the information, which exists regarding the soldier Gilad Shalit whom Hamas kidnapped on the Gaza border at the end of June. "My understanding is that Israel has received proof that Shalit is alive and in reasonably good condition. On the basis of this proof, that has been given to the Israelis, 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 that proof that they are alive, "as a prior condition," he said. Cibrian-Uzal spoke a day after Prime Minister Ehud Olmert told students in Netanya that he stopped the war with Hizbullah because he didn't know if Goldwasser and Regev were alive. On Tuesday night, Olmert backtracked and told reporters in Tel Aviv that Israel that "we believe they are alive are making every effort to release them." He said that his comments on Monday had been misunderstood, and that he did not mean to imply that they were dead. "I told the students what I said at the time to their parents," Olmert said. Goldwasser's mother Miki told The Jerusalem Post that she believes her son "is alive." "That is why I stay so strong. I know that I need to deliver my strength to him," she said and added her hope that she could see him soon. But comments like the ones Olmert made while visiting her son's alma mater 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 are the first rule of a free country.

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