Report: Israel receives documents written by Ron Arad
Lebanese newspaper al-Akhbar reports documents caused missing IAF navigator's brother, daughter to leave for Berlin in bid to convince senior German officials not to release Lebanese citizen and Iranian spy agent, who serves as bargaining chip in attempts to obtain information on affair
According to the report, the document were transferred to Israel for examination and caused Arad's brother Chen and daughter Yuval to leave for Berlin in order to try to convince senior German officials not to release Iranian spay agent Kazem Darabi and Lebanese citizen Abbas Rahil.
The newspaper, which is considered to be somewhat affiliated with Hizbullah, claims that in spite of the Arad family's request, the German government informed Israel last week that it planned to release the two.
Additional sources reported that part of the German decision was related to an Iranian decision made several months ago to release a German national convicted of espionage after 16 months in prison.
The Lebanese paper also reported that Israel tried to pressure Germany not to free the two Lebanese men, claiming that their release should be part of a deal which would include the delivery of information on Ron Arad.
Israel also claimed that additional European countries had committed during the deal for the release of Israeli citizen Elhanan Tennenbaum not to free Hizbullah prisoners or prisoners from other Arab countries until the Shiite organization delivered reliable information on Arad's fate.
In an official statement issued by Hizbullah on Monday night addressing the swap deal, the Shiite organization said that "the mediator on behalf of the UN (the German mediator) was given several pieces of information related to human issues with a common interest, in a bid to reach progress on these issues.
"Hizbullah hopes that these goodwill gestures will help achieve progress and lead to the end of all the issues related to the prisoners and detainees."
Tuesday marked 21 years since Ron Arad was taken hostage.
The second part of the previous hostage swap deal with Hizbullah, in which Israel received the bodies of three kidnapped IDF soldiers and drug dealer Elhanan Tenennbaum, should have included the delivery of information on Ron Arad. This part of the deal, however, was not carried out eventually.
Germany tries to advance talks on captives
Addressing the issue of kidnapped IDF soldiers Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev, the Lebanese newspaper reported that the negotiations recently reached a deadlock following Israel's refusal to accept Hizbullah's demands.
According to the report, the difficulties in the talks have caused Germany to intervene and try to find solutions which would open a window for future negotiations between the sides.
As for Israeli citizen Gabriel Dwait, whose body was returned to Israel on Monday as part of the deal, the Lebanese paper reported that several days after the body was found off the Lebanese shores, Hizbulllah received Dwait's description from the Red Cross and discovered that it was holding an Israeli citizen.
The German mediator reaised the Dwait issue as part of an effort to form a humanitarian deal which would have a direct effect on the negotiations over Goldwasser and Regev, the paper reported. To the Germans' surprise, Hizbullah officials informed the mediator that they were willing to advance such a deal and confirmed that they had Dwait's body.
The newspaper also noted that during the negotiations held by German for the release of Israeli-German citizen Daniel Sharon, talks were also launched for the release of another prisoner held by the Lebanese authorities – a Fatah al-Islam member of Turkish origin who was recently arrested.