PM briefed on declaring captives KIA

Special meeting between Olmert, Defense officials aims to explore possible fates of kidnapped soldiers.

Regev Goldwasser 224.88 (photo credit: Channel 10)
Regev Goldwasser 224.88
(photo credit: Channel 10)
The government may want to consider officially pronouncing kidnapped IDF reservists Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev as "fallen soldiers whose burial places unknown," Army Radio quoted defense officials as suggesting during a special meeting with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert on Sunday. Following Sunday's cabinet meeting, Olmert met with a number of defense and intelligence officials to discuss the status of the captive soldiers. According to reports, officials told Army Radio that determining whether the two were alive or dead was vital in deciding how to proceed with a prisoner swap. The report also said that the prime minister was presented a few days ago with a number of recommendations as to various courses of action, and that these recommendations, which included the option of declaring the soldiers dead, were to be discussed during Sunday's meeting. "Senior officials in the defense establishment are of the opinion that [Israel] should not swap live prisoners for bodies," officials told the radio station. According to the report, Olmert is expected to come to a decision on the matter before it is brought to the cabinet for a vote on Wednesday. The report emphasized that although officials made these recommendations, Israeli intelligence has still not definitely concluded whether the soldiers are alive or dead. Meanwhile, the families of the soldiers met with Shas's spiritual leader Rabbi Ovadia Yosef and its chairman Eli Yishai on Sunday to ask that the party support the prisoner exchange that would bring about the release of Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev. Yosef expressed his wishes that the two return home safely, and asked Yishai to update him on the details of the deal after Sunday's cabinet meeting, but did not make any commitments to the families.