Photo: Doron Golan
We’ll start with the most important thing: The deal for Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev has been finalized.
Almost two years after the abduction of the two reserve soldiers by Hizbullah, the German mediator completed the indirect negotiations between the sides. The deal that has been finalized will not be improving.
Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev are no longer alive. This is not an assumption, but rather, a painful and regrettable fact. In exchange for the two bodies, Israel is about to pay with one live prisoner sentenced to four life terms almost 30 years ago.
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Here is another absolute fact: The Goldwasser and Regev families demand that the government approve the deal, return the sons in whatever condition they are, remove the doubts, and end the tragedy so they can move on.
The father of one of the soldiers used to tell the prime minister and his chief negotiator Ofer Dekel that if his son is no longer alive, he can do without him. He clung to this position till last week, when he discovered that a deal has been completed. Now, he wants his son back. The families do not want the army to declar the soldiers casualties whose place of burial is unknown.
The parents want a gravesite they can visit to be with their loved ones. Karnit Goldwasser wants to embark on a new chapter in her life. It’s as simple as that. Since the beginning of the week they have been going from one minister’s office to another and demanding that they vote in favor of the deal.
Only one way to remove doubtThe recommendation by top intelligence officials to declare that Goldwasser and Regev are dead is based on solid intelligence information gathered with great effort over the past year. The information regarding the soldiers’ death on the way from the northern border to Beirut is considered reliable, yet the parents and Karnit suspect that those who object to the deal are using it as a foot-dragging attempt that would prompt the swap’s annulment.
Thus far, the prime minister refrained from expressing his view. Next Sunday, Olmert will submit the deal’s details for government approval. For the time being, the ones who are talking are the people who would do well to keep their views to themselves: It started with all the former generals who spoke about the heavy price tag and played the role of prophets of the apocalypse.
On Sunday we heard the absurd statement by former IDF Chief of Staff Yaalon, who added yet another delusional declaration to his collection when he said that at times the price required to secure the release of a captive is such that it is better to leave the soldier at the hands of his captors. This is the same army chief who for years used to say that Hizbullah’s rockets will rust before the group can use them.
Therefore, what remains is to propose that decision-makers do something simple: Look in the eyes of Karnit Goldwasser and contend with the sadness and sorrow in her eyes. They should also keep in mind her words last week in an interview with Yedioth Ahronoth: “I do not want to become a symbol. I do not want anybody to pity me. I just want to remove the doubt.”
There is only one way to remove the doubt: Voting in favor of the deal.