Photo: Asi Cohen
Rafael Hadad
Photo: Asi Cohen

Libya denies swapping Hadad for Gaza aid

Officials say no link between Israeli photographer's release, deal for transfer of $50 million to Strip

Libyan officials denied there was any link between an agreement with Israel to underwrite the rebuilding of 1,250 Gaza Strip homes and the release this week of an Israeli photographer who had been imprisoned in the African country.


The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), which looks after Palestinian refugees, said under a deal between the two countries Israel would allow Libya's Gaddafi Foundation charity to provide $50 million to rebuild Gaza homes.


Also, in notably measured remarks about an age-old enemy, Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman this week described Libya as a "reliable partner."


Lieberman, with assistance from an Austrian mediator, recovered 34-year-old Rafael Hadad, an Israeli photographer who was detained in March after traveling to Libya on a passport issued by Tunisia, the country of his birth.


A Libyan official, who asked not to be identified, said in Tripoli: "There is no deal linking the release of Rafael Hadad and the entry of housing units sent by the Gaddafi Foundation into the Gaza Strip."


The official said Hadad had been photographing old Jewish buildings and places of worship, was arrested because he told immigration authorities he was Tunisian, and was released after mediation by a European businessman.


Libya had wanted Israel to let the Libyan aid ship Amalthea, which embarked last month, dock in Gaza in exchange for Hadad, an Israeli official said.


But Israel refused and the Amalthea docked instead at the nearby Egyptian port of El Arish. Israel agreed that some 20 prefabricated structures in its cargo could be admitted to Gaza.



פרסום ראשון: 08.10.10, 20:10
 new comment
This will delete your current comment