Prisoner/Hostage Exchange Takes Place

Col. (res.) Elchanan Tenenbaum has been released, the bodies of the three soldiers killed by Hizbullah 40 months ago have been positively identified, and the entire Israeli delegation back is on its way back to Israel.

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, | updated: 10:15 AM

Col. (res.) Elchanan Tenenbaum has been released, the bodies of the three soldiers killed by Hizbullah 40 months ago have been positively identified, and the entire Israeli delegation is scheduled to arrive in Israel this evening.

At approximately 10 AM Israel time, Tenenbaum was given over to Israeli hands in Germany. The process of identification of the bodies of the three soldiers murdered by Hizbullah 40 months ago was completed around noon (Israel time), and the entire Israeli delegation should be arriving in Israel late this afternoon. The three soldiers will be "greeted" in a full military ceremony, scheduled for 9 PM, followed by funerals for at least two of them tomorrow.

MKs on both the left and right said they would not attend the ceremony, saying it was "politicized" and/or that it glorified Israel's surrender to Hizbullah. Interior Minister Avraham Poraz (Shinui), who voted against the exchange, said he would not attend, as did Deputy Minister Michael Ratzon (Likud). Other non-attendees will include Aryeh Eldad (National Union), Yossi Sarid (Meretz), Eli Yeshai (Shas), and Yuval Shteinitz (Likud).

Tenenbaum will be taken to a side room to meet with his family, and will then be debriefed by Israeli security agents, as is customary with Israelis kept hostage in enemy countries. Tenenbaum's case is even more complex, in that he is a high-ranking officer in the IDF reserves - and, in addition, he arrived in Abu Dhabi, where it is believed he was abducted, under questionable circumstances.

Tenenbaum was interviewed on Hizbullah television last night, dressed nicely and speaking of the "humanitarian" treatment he received at the hands of his kidnappers. Though he appeared to be in good health, his hands were shown to be shaking at certain points. Israeli officials believe that the terrorists began to feed him just one or two months ago, and that the walls of the room in which he was ostensibly kept were clearly temporary and put there just for show. It is widely understood that his statements made while still under Hizbullah control must be totally discounted.

An Israeli plane landed this morning in Germany carrying 29 non-PA terrorists who are being released to various countries. At the moment the identification of the three Israeli bodies was complete, the rest of the exchange was carried out: the return via Rosh HaNikra of 60 bodies of Lebanese fighters and criminals who were buried in Israel, and the dispersal of 400 PA terrorists in Judea, Samaria, and Gaza.




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