VIDEO - The negotiations between Israel and Hizbullah regarding kidnapped IDF soldiers Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev have been given a "serious boost" by Israel in recent weeks, the Lebanese as-Safir daily newspaper reported Monday.
According to Palestinian sources quoted in the report, the boost came from an unexpected direction: Israel's decision to hold a nationwide emergency drill "apparently prompted the Israeli powers to send a calming message (to Syria and the Hizbullah), thus the acceleration in the talks."
A breakthrough in the so-far stalled negotiations is more than feasible, said the report, adding that any success in the avenue may lead to a similar breakthrough in the negotiations to free Israeli's third POW, Hamas captive Gilad Shalit.
'Nothing more than a media spin'
Shlomo Goldwasser, Ehud's father told Ynet that as far as his family knows, the report in nothing more than a media spin, aimed to serve some internal Lebanese agenda.
"If there was any progress in the negotiations and certainly if there was any 'acceleration', those responsible for it in Israel would have given us an update by now," he said.
The Goldwasser, Regev and Shalit families have spered no criticism from Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and the way in which decisions regarding their sons have been made: "Deserting the boys is much easier than paying the price of their release," said Mickey Goldwasser, Ehud's mother, at a speech given in the Hebrew University in Jerusalem last week.
"Olmert wants to be known as the one who refused to pay a hefty price for soldiers' return, but he will always be remembered as the one who created three more Ron Arads," she added.
Noam Shalit, Gilad's father, slammed the PM as well, this time at a meet held in the Bar-Ilan University: "Why should Gilad be the only sucker to pay the price?
"This prime minister… keeps putting off making a decision. Olmert claims efforts are being made and that not a day goes by without them trying to find a solution, but I only have the results to judge him by, and the result is zero success," he said.
Gilad Shalit was kidnapped by Hamas 652 days ago. Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev have been in Hizbullah captivity for 635 days.
Ahiya Raved contributed to this report