Wednesday, August 16, 2006

'Sources' Say Nasrallah 'Doomed,' Unless Kidnapped Soldiers Released, Maariv, August 15, 2000--Translated from Hebrew.

These threats will help insure that the Israeli-Lebanese border will not be quiet. If Olmert is interested in designing a situation in which there is absolutely no chance that Hizballah will stand-down, he seems to be succeeding. It bears remembering that the Israeli assassination of 'Abbas Musawi provided the opportunity for Hassan Nasrallah to take over the reins of Hizballah.

Israel: 'Sources' Say Nasrallah 'Doomed,' Unless Kidnapped Soldiers Released

[Report by Ben Kaspit, Menahem Rahat, and Maya Bengal: "Nasrallah Will Spend the Rest of His Life in a Bunker"]

"Nasrallah is a doomed terrorist. He will have to spend the rest of his life in a bunker," senior political sources said on the day after the cease-fire with Hizballah went into effect.

Speaking before the Knesset yesterday, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert made an explicit hint in that context, while his associates confirmed yesterday: "Hasan Nasrallah will not go unpunished. A terrorist who persistently attacks the sovereignty of the State of Israel and its citizens is doomed to die. It has nothing to do with the cease-fire. Nasrallah and others like him must realize that there is no forgiveness when it comes to terror attacks against a state and its innocent civilians. The rules that applied to Ahmad Yasin and the others will apply to him too."

"If He Comes Out, He Will Die"

Nasrallah did not emerge from his hiding place yesterday. In Israel, it is believed that he is aware of the fact that his life is in danger and that the IDF is still making a huge effort to hunt him down. "If he comes out, he will die," a senior military source said yesterday. In an interesting remark, however, political sources hinted that Nasrallah may have a way to live longer, if he releases the kidnapped Israeli soldiers. "What if he releases the soldiers? Let him release them first," a senior source said yesterday. It is believed that Nasrallah may be taken out of Israel's "most wanted" list as part of a POW exchange deal, in the same way Israel removed Palestinian fugitives from its hit list after the hudna [respite] was introduced.

In the coming days, the IDF is expected to complete a report that will offer a professional estimate concerning the chances that the two kidnapped soldiers -- Eldad Regev and Uri Goldwasser -- are still alive. The report authors are examining the state of the vehicles the soldiers were in, bloodstains, firing angles, and additional evidence. Nasrallah's famous slip, the one he made on the day of the abduction, is a key detail. As may be recalled, reports in Israel mistakenly identified one of the kidnapped soldiers as a Druze. A few hours after the soldiers were kidnapped, Nasrallah delivered a speech in which he promised Walid Junblatt, leader of the Lebanese Druze, that the Druze abductee will not be hurt and will be treated well. The Israeli reports made him wrongly believe that he is holding a Druze soldier, which is why he made this remark.

Israel is currently drawing the outline for the POW exchange negotiations. The prime minister would be willing to release all the Hizballah men who were captured during the operation, as well as two Lebanese prisoners that Israel has been holding for a while. At the current stage, Samir Quntar is not on the POW lists. "Olmert will have a serious public problem should he decide to release Quntar under the current circumstances," the prime minister's associates said. On the other hand, this may be a media spin, designed for negotiations' purposes. Israel is holding Quntar, expecting to obtain information about Ron Arad in exchange for his release. If Iran should become part of the deal and provide the required information, Quntar may be released as part of a circular move. Olmert intends to instruct Ofer Deqel, his emissary for the release of the soldiers, to make it clear that Israel does not intend to engage in lengthy and exhausting negotiations like those it held in the past. "We will either finish this fast, here and now," Israeli sources said, "or we will let them come looking for us." We will have to wait and see.

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