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Goldwasser Family: ‘ We Believe They’re Still Alive’

Ehud Goldwasser’s family says they believe he and his fellow captive are still alive. German officials are quoted saying one is dead.
By Hana Levi Julian
First Publish: 7/29/2007, 1:15 AM

The family of kidnapped IDF reservist Ehud Goldwasser said Saturday they believe he is still alive and that they will continue to believe so until they are told otherwise from an official and credible source.

Goldwasser and fellow reservist Eldad Regev were kidnapped by Hizbullah terrorists in a cross-border raid and Katyusha rocket attack on northern Israeli communities last summer, igniting the Second Lebanon War.

The Lebanese newspaper an-Nahar quoted German intelligence officials in a report Saturday that one of the two captives is dead. “Security forces understood that one of the kidnapped soldiers is still alive; however, the other is dead," sources stated.

“This is cynical use of uncorroborated information,” said Goldwasser’s mother, Mickey. “It’s a psychological game. If they want to transmit credible information, they should do so through ordinary channels,” she said. “We will consider the information as founded only after the Red Cross visits them or after a tape is presented to us.”

The report offered the first concrete statement about the condition of the two hostages since they were kidnapped on July 12th.  Their captors have refused to divulge their whereabouts or condition despite numerous attempts by international envoys to obtain information about the soldiers from the kidnappers.

Israeli officials have not confirmed the report. The condition and whereabouts of the captives remain unknown, although initial reports last year indicated that one of the two soldiers was seriously wounded.

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert originally vowed that Israel would not end the Second Lebanon War against Hizbullah until both Goldwasser and Regev were returned. As the war dragged on and Israel suffered heavy losses, the Prime Minister backtracked on his promise and accepted a ceasefire without achieving the stated objective of the war, which was bringing the missing soldiers back home.

Efforts to reach the soldiers via the Red Cross have failed despite the Israeli government's allowing the Red Cross to visit three Hizbullah prisoners captured by Israel.

IDF Cpl. Gilad Shalit, who was kidnapped by Hamas terrorists in a cross-border raid in the south of Israel is also still missing in action, with no credible information available on his whereabouts and condition as well. At the time, Prime Minister Olmert declared that he would not speak with Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas and that there would be no negotiations or release of jailed terrorists in order to gain his freedom.

Last week on July 20, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert released 255 convicted Arab terrorists as a good will gesture to Abu Mazen. In addition, another 178 wanted Fatah terrorists were taken off of Israel's wanted list for the coming three months, unless they are found to be actively engaging in terrorism.  If they succeed in acting peacefully for the next three months, their names will then be taken off the wanted list permanently.