Benny Regev, brother of kidnapped IDF soldier, Eldad Regev told Ynetnews that he favored direct talks between the Israeli government and Hezbollah:
Regev, who returned home from a round of meetings with world leaders at the United Nations, called on the Israeli government to hold talks with Hizbullah, citing that the Lebanese government is too weak.
During the Lebanon war, this was a verboten topic as far as Ehud Olmert was concerned. No negotiations with terrorists. Military force would free the prisoners. Etc., etc. Now that Olmert’s bromides have failed you don’t hear Olmert talk much about how the prisoners will be freed, which to me indicates that Olmert finally realizes that they will only be released after negotiations with Hezbollah.
Regev is of course correct in advocating contact with Hezbollah. It is the only way for his brother to be released. Practically everyone knows (including Olmert) that there must be a prisoner exchange in order for the captives to be freed. The only question is what the price will be:
Asked if Israel should release prisoners in return for his brother’s release, Regev said: “It is too early to speak about the price; the government needs to agree to a deal which will be presented to the public, but I would agree to freeing prisoners.”
But how can there be such a deal if Israel stands on the alleged principle of not talking to terrorists?
And just as there should be direct talks with Hezbollah, Israel should relax its ban on contact with the Hamas-led PA. These bans are artificial constructs and counter-productive. Gilad Shalit too will not be released until Israel releases prisoners and the way to do this is to talk to the enemy and reach an agreement.
I believe that such contact will lead directly or indirectly to more accommodation on both sides and eventually to a peace agreement.
You are delusional if you think that negotiating will bring anything more than more violence. Not to mention that Nasrallah demands the release of child killer Samir Kuntar.
A prisoner swap only encourages more violence.
Richard Silverstein says
Either you’re a liar or ignorant of recent Mideast history. In the past few years alone, there have been two prisoner swaps one of which was negoatiated by Ariel Sharon. Neither one, including the one Sharon negotiated with Hezbollah, “encouraged more violence.”
In the one case where the Israeli government refused to negotiate & attempted to free the hostage by force (under Rabin’s government), the IDF soldier was killed.
I find the idea of freeing Sami Kuntar odious & if there were any way to conclude negotiations for the release of Regev & Goldwasser w/o freeing Kuntar, I would do it. But if my only choice to get the two soldiers back was releasing Kuntar, I would do it in a heartbeat.
Can you tell me in all sincerity that you would be willing as PM to personally tell the families of the two hostages that you simply refuse to bring about their release because you will not release Kuntar? And what would you expect that families response to you would be?
Disagree with me fine. But you should also grapple w. Brad Burston in Haaretz, who wrote Free the Monster Kuntar.