Israel, Hezbollah Set Up Prisoner Swap

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CBNNews.com - JERUSALEM, Israel - A prisoner swap with the Lebanese-based Hezbollah terror organization, approved by the Israeli Cabinet Sunday, involves four stages.

Following the signing of the deal, which will either take place in Europe or in Beirut and Jerusalem within the next several days, Hezbollah will provide Israel with its report on Israeli navigator Ron Arad, shot down over Lebanon in 1986.

Israel will then turn over to Hezbollah a report on four Iranian diplomats, allegedly kidnapped and executed during the first Lebanon war in the 1980s.

After United Nations hostage negotiator Gerhard Konrad reads and approves Hezbollah's explanation about Arad's fate, Hezbollah will return kidnapped Israel Defense Forces (IDF) reservists Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser, who according to Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's statement Sunday, are presumed dead "as far as is known."

Hezbollah will also return the remains still in its possession of other IDF soldiers killed in the Second Lebanon War in the summer of 2006.

Israel will release Lebanese prisoner Samir Kuntar, serving four life sentences for the brutal 1979 murder of two children, ages two and four, their father and an Israeli policeman. Kuntar smothered the two year old and then shot the father in front of the four year old, before bludgeoning her to death.

Along with Kuntar, Israel will turn over four other Hezbollah terrorists captured during the Second Lebanon War and the remains of eight Hezbollah fighters who were killed during the war.

This exchange will take place at Rosh HaNikra at Israel's northern border with Lebanon, under the supervision of the international Red Cross.

In the last stage of the prisoner swap, Israel will turn over an unspecified number of Palestinian prisoners, reported to number around 50, whose release has been approved by the Shin Bet (General Security Agency).

Both Shin Bet head Yuval Diskin and the Mossad (Intelligence agency) chief Meir Dagan disapproved of the deal with Hezbollah, but IDF Chief of General Staff Gabi Ashkenazi was in favor of the prisoner exchange, saying that he is the commander of Israel's soldiers, both living and dead.

Sources: Haaretz, The Jerusalem Post

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