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More Questions than Answers

Israel is currently in negotiations with Hizballah for the release of abducted Israeli business man Elhanan Tannenbaum and three IDF soldiers captured and presumed dead. In return, Israel may release 15 Lebanese and some 400 Palestinian and other Arab detainees in Israel. In other words, 1 alive and 3 dead Israelis for over 400 terrorists. In fact, it may be 4 dead Israelis, according to Jerusalem News Wire:

German negotiators trying to work out a prisoner exchange deal between Israel and Hizballah said Thursday that abducted Israeli businessman Elhanan Tannenbaum is in bad shape following torture at the hands of his captors.

Israeli officials fear Tannenbaum may not live to see the end result of the negotiations, and are demanding Hizballah allow a doctor to examine him as part of the exchange deal, Israel’s Yediot Ahronot daily reported.

Tannenbaum was recently visited by a German mediator, who brought a letter from the captive businessman to his family and reported on his physical condition, according to Hebrew press reports.

According to the reports, Hizballah, who accused Tannenbaum of being a Mossad agent, ripped out his fingernails, pulled out all of his teeth and had severely damaged his internal organs during torture sessions.

Accepting Hizballah’s claim that Tannenbaum is a legitimate prisoner of war, the terror group’s treatment of him constitutes a “severe breach” of Section II of the Geneva Convention relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War.

This prisoner swap raises many questions. Is it worth retrieving the bodies of dead Israelis in exchange for releasing hundreds of terrorists? Won’t such a release encourage the abduction of more Israelis? Should the swap go ahead without securing the release of Ron Arad? Should public discussion be held over Tennenbaum’s business dealings, his background and the circumstances of his kidnapping, or will this further imperil him?

With more questions arising than answers, the only thing I can say with certainty is that Israel’s apparent willingness to trade a few dead Israelis for hundreds of living arabs demonstrates the value that Israel places on dignity in death, as well as closure for loved ones.

About the author

Picture of David Lange

David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media
Picture of David Lange

David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media
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