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What about Israel's Missing Soldiers?

By Michael Freund
8/24/2006, 12:00 AM

It has been 10 days now since the UN-mandated cease-fire went into effect in Lebanon, and a key provision of the arrangement remains unfulfilled.

With the media turning its attention elsewhere, the plight of the three Israeli soldiers being held by Hizbullah and Hamas has largely fallen off the radar screen.

Families_of_missing_israeli_soldiers_1That, of course, is both outrageous and completely unacceptable.

It was, after all, the abduction of the soldiers – Gilad Shalit, Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev – by Islamist terrorists which sparked the conflict in the first place. And UN Security Council resolution 1701, which brought about the cease-fire, requires the soldiers' speedy return.

More importantly, however, is the human dimension. For the Shalit, Goldwasser and Regev families, the war has not yet ended so long as their loved ones remain in captivity. The uncertainty and doubt they are living with each day can not and should not be allowed to continue.

It is therefore essential that we raise a hue and a cry and demand that pressure be brought to bear on the Lebanese government and the Palestinian Authority to ensure the safe return of Israel's missing servicemen.

With the US and various European nations planning to send millions of dollars to Lebanon to help rebuild the country's infrastructure, there is certainly room to link those funds with the full implementation of the resolution. This lever should be applied forthwith, so that the ongoing nightmare surrounding the fate of the missing soldiers can finally be brought to an end.