Officials at the Prime Minister's Office expect that the meetings with the families will be as tensed and emotional as the one Olmert held with the parents of kidnapped soldier Gilad Shalit last week. A senior source told Ynet that the PM is currently preoccupied with the fighting in the north. "According to his perception, the issue of the abductees will clear up once the fighting is over, since at the moment there's no one to talk to."
Eldad Regev. 'No negotiations before fighting ends' (Reproduction photo: Hagai Aharon)
"In any event, the prime minister insists that negotiations must not be held with Hizbullah or any other organization, on the release of Lebanese or Palestinian prisoners," he added.
No official word on soldiers
Meanwhile, simultaneous public and secretive efforts are being carried out to bring to the kidnapped soldiers' release. Friendly countries, as well as international organizations, are involved in these efforts. Up until now, Hizbullah has failed to answer calls by bodies such as the Red Cross to relay information regarding the Lebanon hostages' fate. A formal message stating that Gilad Shalit is well had already been conveyed to Israel.
Ehud Goldwasser. Olmert to meet parents
For their part Hizbullah charged that Israel was hold three Lebanese hostages, whom they wished to have released via a prisoner exchanger: Samir Quntar, who was behind a murderous attack on Nahariya, Nassim Nasir and Yehia Skaf. Israel, it should be noted, rejects claims that it has Nasir in custody.
On top of the release of the three prisoners, Nasrallah demanded 10,000 Palestinian security prisoners be freed as well.
Olmert 'involved in every aspect' of soldiers' release
Head of Military Intelligence Maj.-Gen. Amos Yadlin said during a Cabinet meeting that Nasrallah linked the kidnap of the two soldiers in the north to Hamas’ abduction of tank soldier Cpl. Gilad in the south days earlier.
From the Prime Minister’s Office, officials told Ynet that Olmert was working tirelessly in attempt to gain the soldiers’ release. “He is interested in every bit of information, he’s involved in every aspect of the process. He’s spurring on the security establishment on the matter. He’s extremely sensitive to the whole issue of the hostages,” they said.