samir kuntar 298.
(photo credit: )
At the outset of the Second Lebanon War, the IDF already knew that military operations against Hizbullah would not succeed in retrieving kidnapped reservists Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser, OC Northern Command Maj.-Gen. Gadi Eizenkot said Wednesday in speech at a Nahariya high school.
Eizenkot, who during the war was head of the IDF Operations Directorate, told students that two hours after the abduction of the reservists, it was already clear to the top IDF brass that military operations alone would not rescue them. The war, he said, was initially supposed to last no more than four to six days.
"The initial plan was not to [get involved] in an all-out war," he said. "But rather a limited operation containing six goals, of which the main goals were: Significantly damaging Hizbullah's infrastructure and the implementation of UN Resolution 1559, which was to lead to the Lebanese Army taking control in southern Lebanon."
The IDF general, who is seen as a potential victim of the Winograd War Commission report scheduled to be published on Monday, said that it took the IDF 30 minutes to realize that Goldwasser and Regev had been kidnapped.
Meanwhile Wednesday, the United Arab Emirate Al-Itihad Newspaper reported that negotiations over the release of Goldwasser and Regev have significantly progressed and that it was possible that the deal would be finalized by the end of the summer. According to the report, a German intelligence official has been traveling from Beirut to Jerusalem to speed up talks between Hizbullah and Israel. Germany mediated between Israel and Hizbullah following the kidnapping of three soldiers in May 2000.
The report quoted Lebanese sources, who said that Hizbullah and Israel were reviewing a list of Lebanese and Palestinian prisoners who could potentially be released in exchange for the two IDF reservists. One of the prisoners mentioned was Samir Kuntar who is serving multiple life terms for the killing of three members of the Haran family and policeman Eliahu Shahar in a raid on Nahariya in 1979.