Benny Regev, brother of kidnapped IDF reservist Eldad Regev, urged Prime Minister Ehud Olmert on Sunday to make goodwill gestures to Israeli citizens as well as to Arab terrorists whom he ordered released in order to prop up the government of Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas.
Speaking to approximately 3,000 people at the eastern Gush Etzion community of Nokdim, celebrating the 40th anniversary of the re-establishment of Jewish communities in Gush Etzion, Regev called on the Prime Minister to raise the bar on his efforts to rescue the soldiers kidnapped in 2006.
Regev’s brother Eldad and fellow reservist Ehud Goldwasser were kidnapped on July 12, 2006 by Hizbullah terrorists in a cross-border raid from southern Lebanon. Neither has been seen or heard from since. Just two weeks earlier, IDF Cpl. Gilad Shalit was kidnapped by Hamas terrorists in a cross-border raid from Gaza. With the exception of an undated audio tape featuring Gilad’s voice, he also has not been seen or heard from since his abduction.
“Ehud Olmert, demand a sign of life of the captives before the peace conference in November, and make this demand a condition for your attendance,” urged Regev. He added that the government is equally obligated to build trust among its own people as it does with the PA.
Ehud Olmert, demand a sign of life of the captives before the peace conference in November, and make this demand a condition for your attendance.
“We must also demand trust-building steps from the Arab states and the Palestinians,” he asserted. “They must prove to us that their way is a way of peace and concessions, respect for human rights and international law.”
The issue of trust, emphasized so often by politicians from the PA and elsewhere in their efforts to persuade Israel to buckle on security measures, must also apply at home, said Regev.
“We must build up the trust of citizens called for reserves or compulsory service, full trust, because all of us – and especially the representatives of the people – stand behind them and beside them during their service and in the event of, G-d forbid, injury or captivity,” he said.
“This is a meeting of Arab states, the United States and other countries that are committed to the release of the captives according to U.N. Resolution 1701 and if he does not [demand a sign of life], we have missed another chance,” he reminded.
The U.S.-sponsored Mideast summit, slated to be held November in Annapolis, Maryland, is expected to focus on the issue of territorial and other concessions by Israel to the PA and the formation of yet another Arab state, in Judea and Samaria.