Prime Minister Ehud Olmert spoke at the “Amal” High School in Nahariya to a group of 11th graders on the subject of Israel’s kidnapped soldiers, Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev and the recent war in Lebanon.
He said that Israel does not know if the kidnapped soldiers are alive in Lebanon, but “if they are alive, Israel is ready to pay a heavy price in order for their release.”
In a meeting with students in the 11th grade, Olmert was asked by the students why the war ended even though the soldiers did not return home.
Olmert answered, “On the 14th of August, the time came to make a decision on the ceasefire, we knew the soldiers would not be released according to UN resolution 1701. What were we to do? Keep fighting and turn dozens of families into bereaved ones? Do this so that they, and I hope that they are alive, will spend a little less time in captivity? So, they will spend a little more time in captivity. We do not know if they are alive and we hope that they are alive and we will do everything to bring them back.”
The words of Olmert aroused a fury among the families of the kidnapped soldiers, which said that his words were unnecessary and destructive. “The prime minister needs to be more careful in what he speaks and we demand that he will speak less and do much more in the release of the subjects,” they said.
Last week, Olmert said Israel will not release Palestinian prisoners in exchange for dead soldiers.