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.