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Tuesday, December 5, 2006

PM remarks infuriate families of IDF men captive in Lebanon

Last update - 09:59 05/12/2006

PM remarks infuriate families of IDF men captive in Lebanon
By Jack Khoury and Gideon Alon, Haaretz Correspondents

Families of the two IDF soldiers captive in Lebanon have strongly criticized
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert for remarks in which he said that he would rather
they remained in captivity, than for more soldiers to have been killed in a
prolonged conflict in Lebanon.

Olmert, speaking to 11th-graders in Nahariya on Monday, also said that Israel
lacked solid evidence that Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser, the two reserve
soldiers captured by Hezbollah in July, were still alive.

"What should we have done?" Olmert asked. "Keep fighting and maybe create
dozens more bereaved families to accelerate the return of two people, and I
hope they are still alive, for whom it's a question of spending a little more
or a little less time in captivity in the face of the possibility or certainty
that many dozens more would be killed in the continued fighting?"

His remarks drew fire from the committee for the soldiers' return.

"We ask that the prime minister say less and do much more to bring about the
release of the captives from Lebanon," the committee for the captured soldiers
said in a statement.

"The prime minister should be very careful with his words, so that they are
not, heaven forbid, misinterpreted."

Olmert made the remarks during a meeting with 11th-graders from the Amal
Nahariya high school, in response to a question about the cabinet's decision
to end the war despite the fact that the kidnapped soldiers had not been

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