Sources close to Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon on Friday denied reports on advancement that could launch again prisoners’ swap with Hezbollah, saying that they were ‘another spin by Hezbollah,’ Channel Two reported.
Oman daily newspaper Al-Watan reported Friday that Hezbollah has recently passed to Israel through the German Mediator Ernst Uhrlau new and credible information on the fate of missing Israel Air Force navigator Ron Arad.
If true, such information could pave the way for implementing the second face of the prisoners’ swap deal between Israel and the Lebanese based party.
According to the Omani newspaper, Uhrlau visited Lebanon this week, then arrived in Israel , likely carrying the new information on Arad .
The believe in Lebanon is that Uhrlau’s team is remaining in the region and is determined to secure a final formulation of a deal that would be acceptable to both Israel and Hezbollah.
According to Friday’s report in Al-Watan, Hebollah leader Hassan Nasrallah gave Uhrlau a list of prisoners he wants Israel to release.
Topping the list is Samir Kuntar, a Lebanese prisoner that Israel refused to release in the first stage of the prisoners swap deal.
In addition to a group of Palestinian prisoners, Hezbollah is interested in the release of Arab Israeli prisoners, including Druze from the Golan Heights that Israel refused to release in the first stage of the swap deal.
The Hezbollah-affiliated television station Al-Manar quoted Nasrallah as saying that Ã¢â‚¬Å“the two sides were to embark on negotiations for the second stage of a prisoner exchange deal.Ã¢â‚¬Â
‘I confirm on this occasion that negotiations are still going on with the German mediator … but there is a pledge by both sides not to speak in detail about what is going on so that we don’t fall into complications,’ Nasrallah said during a wake for the brother of a Hezbollah official.
Through the January 2004 prisoners’ swap deal, the kidnapped Israeli businessman Elhanan Tennenbaum and the bodies of three Israel soldiers were exchanged for hundreds of Palestinian prisoners mostly ended their imprisonment terms, and dozens of Lebanese and Arab prisoners as well as the bodies of dozens of Lebanese freedom fighter.
Sheikh Abed Karim Obeid, and Mustafa Dirani, both were abducted by Israel in order to be used as a bargning chip on Arad , were also released.