'Cabinet decision a victory for Israel'

Miki Goldwasser: Country should be proud; Zvi Regev: I hope this nightmare will end tomorrow.

Regev Goldwasser 224.88 (photo credit: Channel 10)
Regev Goldwasser 224.88
(photo credit: Channel 10)
The cabinet's decision to ratify the prisoner exchange deal with Hizbullah is a triumph for Israel, Miki Goldwasser, mother of kidnapped IDF reservist Ehud Goldwasser, told Israel Radio Tuesday afternoon. She explained that she felt the decision was a victory over Hizbullah and over Hizbullah chief Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, who fought to free a murderer, and are planning to celebrate his release. She called this a "shame" to the Lebanese nation. Goldwasser went on to say that "our nation is strong, and knows what is dear to it, and what we will fight over." "I want to see my nation hold up its head in pride and say 'we won,'" she added. Zvi Regev, father of kidnapped IDF reservist Eldad Regev said he was holding out hope his son might still be alive, despite assessments that both soldiers are dead. "I really hope this nightmare will end tomorrow," he told Israel Radio. "We will accept whatever will be. We need to be strong and accept it for better or for worse." Israel's cabinet on Tuesday overwhelmingly approved a deal to trade Samir Kuntar, a Lebanese terrorist convicted of killing 4 Israelis in 1979, for the two Israeli soldiers captured by Hizbullah two years ago. The swap is due to take place on Wednesday at 9 a.m. under UN auspices at the Rosh Hanikra border crossing between Israel and Lebanon. Hizbullah has given no evidence that soldiers Goldwasser and Regev are alive, and has not allowed the Red Cross to see them since they were captured on July 12, 2006, in a cross-border raid. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert told the cabinet last month that Israel believes the men did not survive. The deal, approved in a 22-3 vote, reflects the country's deep moral commitment to its soldiers that they will never be left behind in the field. It also will close a painful chapter from Israel's inconclusive war against Hizbullah, which was sparked by the soldiers' capture. The first stage of the swap deal was completed days ago, when Hizbullah transferred to Israel an 80-page report on the fate of Israel airman Ron Arad, who was shot down over Lebanon in 1986 and held by the Amal Shi'ite group until the night of May 4, 1988, when he disappeared.