Miki Goldwasser: My son is still alive

Says no gov't source ever officially said kidnapped soldiers dead, and that Hizbullah wanted them alive.

Regev Goldwasser 224.88 (photo credit: Channel 10)
Regev Goldwasser 224.88
(photo credit: Channel 10)
At the end of a week of speculation regarding the imminence of a prisoner swap deal between Israel and Hizbullah, Miki Goldwasser, the mother of kidnapped IDF soldier Ehud Goldwasser expressed optimism on Saturday that her son would be returned to her alive. "The boys are alive until it is proven otherwise," Goldwasser said of her son and Eldad Regev, who was kidnapped along with Ehud in a cross-border attack launched by Hizbullah in July 2006. "As long as representatives from the United Nations have yet to meet with the boys, they are alive," she said while participating in a festival in Kfar Vitkin. "We know that one of them was very badly wounded and the other seriously hurt. But the goal was to kidnap the soldiers alive." Goldwasser added that her gut feeling was that her son was alive, and that she had yet to hear any official word from the government to the contrary. Following a speech delivered by Hizbullah chief Hassan Nasrallah on Monday indicating that a prisoner exchange deal was near, defense officials said Tuesday that such a deal was not imminent. The officials said that while progress had been made in the German-mediated negotiations, Israel was waiting for Hizbullah's response to what has been described as Jerusalem's last offer for a prisoner swap with the Lebanese terror organization. Diplomatic officials also cautioned against undue optimism, saying that "these things are never done, until they are done." Israel, the officials said, remained extremely cautious, and advised weighing all the reports coming out of Lebanon very carefully. According to the reported proposal that Ofer Dekel, the official charged by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert with the issue of kidnapped soldiers, presented to German mediator Gerhard Konrad, Israel will be willing to release Samir Kuntar, four Hizbullah fighters captured during the Second Lebanon War and the bodies of 10 Hizbullah gunmen in exchange for Goldwasser and Regev. Kuntar has been in prison since 1979, when he led a terrorist attack in Nahariya that resulted in the deaths of policeman Eliyahu Shahar, and Danny Haran and his two young daughters. Yaakov Katz and Herb Keinon contributed to this report