According to news reports, Israel is on the verge of finalizing a prisoner exchange with Hezbollah, the implementation of which is anticipated to take place next Wednesday. As Haaretz reports,
[o]ne possible obstacle to the cabinet’s approval is the terms of the current deal, which go against promises the state made to Arad’s family when it redeemed Elhanan Tenenbaum in 2004 – not to release Lebanese terrorist Samir Kuntar without also obtaining substantive information about Arad’s fate.
To keep its word to Arad’s family, this government now has three options: the first would be to keep the promise and, in the wake of Hezbollah’s vague report on Arad’s fate, call the whole thing off. The second would be to explain to the Arad family that the imperatives of state demand the return of Israel’s captive soldiers Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser, dead or alive, even if the cost is breaking a promise made four years ago to the Arad family. Then of course, there is the third option – stick to the deal with Hezbollah and challenge the meaning of the word “substantive,” thereby pretending that this government kept all its commitments.
The first choice might consign Regev and Goldwasser – or their remains – to the same fate of Arad. The second choice would give those two families a peace of mind which this very same act might forever deny to the Arad family. And the third course of action would be spin.
Which course of action do you think Olmert will embrace? I suspect playing with words will be it.