A report Saturday by the German Der Spiegel magazine that Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is preparing to announce that kidnapped IDF reservists Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev are dead may be premature.
A senior political source in Jerusalem quoted by Ynet said “as long as there is no unequivocal information regarding their condition, Israel will continue to engage in negotiations based on the assumption they are alive.”
News of the Der Spiegel report was splayed across Israeli news outlets by Saturday night, with headlines trumpeting the probability of an imminent announcement by the prime minister that Israeli intelligence has concluded the two reservists are dead.
Olmert was in Germany for talks with Chancellor Angela Merkel last week to discuss the matter. Germany has been deeply involved in mediating talks with Hizbullah about Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev, who were kidnapped in July 2006 by the group’s operatives in a cross-border attack that touched off the Second Lebanon War.
Goldwasser’s wife Karnit, who often comments on reports in the news about her husband and his fellow reservist, said she had not received any notification from the Prime Minister’s Office.
“Usually, when there are serious developments, the Prime Minister calls me or the family,” said Goldwasser. “I have not received any new notification from the [PMO] and so I have no intention of commenting on the various reports by foreign media outlets.”
Second Report by German Newspaper that Goldwasser and Regev are Dead
Der Spiegel reported last October in a feature article about the unnamed German official mediating talks between Israel and Hizbullah for the soldiers’ release that both soldiers were dead. The report added that Israeli officials also believe they were killed.
Goldwasser’s wife and Regev’s brother Benny spoke about her husband and his fellow reservist last month in a video hookup with Jewish communities in London, Singapore and Hong.
Goldwasser acknowledged that she is preparing for the possibility that Ehud is no longer alive. While not saying he won’t return home at all, she commented that “in the meantime, a year and a half later, I am getting along without Udi.”