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Report: Hizbullah won’t lower swap demands if IDF captives declared dead
Columnist with links to Shiite group quotes Nasrallah as saying, 'Olmert can do as he pleases; he'll find our demands are the same even if captive soldiers declared 'killed in action'

Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah will not lower his demands in the framework of a prisoner exchange deal even if Israel declared captive soldiers Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev "killed in action", an analyst with ties to the Shiite group said in a column published by the Lebanese daily Al-Akhbar on Wednesday.

 

According to Ibrahim el-Amin, seven months ago Israel attempted, through German mediator Gerhard Konrad, to pressure Hizbullah into lowering its demands by threatening to declare the captive IDF soldiers as "fallen soldiers whose place of burial is unknown." The analyst quoted Nasrallah as saying in response, "(Prime Minister Ehud) Olmert can do as he pleases. He'll resume the negotiations regardless of whether the soldiers are declared dead or not. He'll find that our demands will be the same."

 

The Lebanese analyst further claimed in his article that Israel foiled two possible prisoner exchange deals that could have been carried out at "a lower cost" for

Israel.

 

He said that immediately after Regev and Goldwasser were kidnapped in a cross-border raid on July 12, 2006, Hizbullah offered to release them in exchange for Samir Kuntar. After the conclusion of the Second Lebanon War, he said, Israel declined an offer by Hizbullah to free the captive soldiers in exchange for the release of Kuntar and the rest of the Lebanese prisoners.

 

El-Amin said Hizbullah's demands currently include the release of all the Lebanese prisoners, including Kuntar, the return of the bodies of all of the Hizbullah gunmen who were killed in action, Israel's disclosure of details on the fate of Lebanese prisoner Yehiya Saqaf and that of four Iranian diplomats who went missing in the 1980s.

  

The Shiite group is also demanding that Israel also disclose maps of mine fields it left behind during the IDF's withdrawal from Lebanon in 2000 as well as information on the sites it had attacked with cluster bombs during the final hours of the Second Lebanon War. In addition, the group also wants Israel to release a large number of Palestinian prisoners.

 

The analyst said that in return Hizbullah agreed to return the two captive soldiers and the remains of other IDF soldiers who were killed in the war, offer a detailed report on the Shiite group's efforts regarding missing Israeli navigator Ron Arad. Hizbullah even agreed to implement the exchange deal in several stages, el-Amin said.

 

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