Sunday, July 15, 2007

The Forgotten Ones

War is such a reckless abandonment of life, that it is all to easy to forget, when three young soldiers are kidnapped and held hostage. Nobody appears to want to talk so the suffering of the civilian family goes on. A year has passed since the unprovoked abduction of Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser on the Israeli side of the Lebanese border, an action that precipitated widespread confrontation between Israel and the Lebanon-based Hizbullah terrorist organization. 

To date no word has been heard from the two captive soldiers, and neither their families nor the government of Israel have any knowledge of their whereabouts or their current state of health. Especially grave is the fact that these unprovoked abductions were carried out on sovereign Israeli territory. Two weeks prior to their abduction, on June 25, another soldier, Gilad Shalit, was abducted as well, this time on the Israeli side of the border with Gaza. On the anniversary of his abduction (25 June 2007), Hamas released a recorded message of Gilad Shalit's voice - the first sign of life since he was abducted. 

Shalit's father Noam indicated that the voice - if not the wording of the message - was that of Gilad. Taken from their families a year ago, these captive soldiers are denied the most basic of human rights. In a gross breach of U.N. Security Council Resolution 1701, the terrorist organizations that carried out these abductions, and Syria and Iran who support them, behave as if these human rights are nothing more than a bargaining chip in their game of negotiation, refusing even to transmit messages to the captives from their families. International bodies who met with the captives' families have also tried to forward messages and letters, but they have been met with a negative response as well. 

The Israel Foreign Ministry is active in efforts to gain their release on all levels: Foreign Ministry Tzipi Livni and her fellow ministers, alongside Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, raise the issue at the highest levels in their diplomatic meetings, in Israel and abroad - as do the Foreign Ministry's director-general and other senior officials. The Foreign Ministry also assists the families of the kidnapped soldiers in their meetings, both abroad and with visiting dignitaries in Israel, in an effort to keep the cause of the abducted soldiers on the international public agenda. Israel's embassies abroad are also taking part in this effort, with emphasis on the humanitarian aspect: the families await a clear sign that their sons are alive and well. Those with influence, whether direct or indirect, on Syria and Iran are being asked to exert this influence on these countries. 

Thus, it is hoped, Syria and Iran, which sponsor the terrorist organizations holding the abducted soldiers, will be forced by growing international pressure to bring their influence to bear to obtain the hoped-for news and their eventual release. Neither Israel nor any other civilized, law abiding country can accept this situation. 

We urge you to support us in our endeavor - to bring our soldiers home. Gilad Shalit (21) was born on August 28, 1986. He is the son of Aviva and Noam Shalit and the brother of Yoel (24) and Hadas (17). Eldad Regev (27) was born and raised in Kiryat Motzkin. One of the qualities that makes Eldad so special is the kindness of his heart – never hesitating to donate and offer aid to anyone in need. Eldad made many friends throughout high school and during his army service, all of whom can attest to his fine qualities.

There must be somebody, a person of understanding, who could re-unite these three with their families. The outcome in doing so, would assuredly raise the good will, of ones neighbours.

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