Hizballah rejects Israeli prisoner swap proposal

Thursday, August 02, 2007 |  by Staff Writer

Lebanon's Hizballah terrorist militia has rejected an Israeli proposal to exchange two Israeli soldiers being held by the group for hundreds of Lebanese and Palestinian terrorists jailed in the Jewish state.

United Nations Middle East envoy Michael Williams said this week that the Israeli offer he conveyed to Hizballah would require the terrorists to provide a sign of life from abducted Israeli reservists Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser in exchange for a limited release of Arab security prisoners. If it can be confirmed that Regev and Goldwasser are still alive, then Israeli will free hundreds more prisoners in return for their release.

But Ha'aretz quoted Williams as saying Hizballah had flatly rejected the deal, and instead insisted on a single stage swap where all Arab prisoners it wants released are set free before Israel knows the condition of the soldiers being held hostage in Lebanon.

In 2000, Hizballah kidnapped three young soldiers along the Israel-Lebanon border, and for years demanded Israel release Arab security prisoners in exchange for their release. It was later learned that all three of the soldiers had died during their abduction.

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