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Copyright 2000 Jerusalem Post
Jerusalem Post

December 15, 2000

HEADLINE: MIA Group Launches Petition to Free Captive Soldiers

BYLINE: Gil Hoffman and Arieh O'Sullivan

Tel Aviv University President Itamar Rabinovitch, a former head of the delegation to peace talks with Syria, said yesterday that Israel should be patient with negotiations to return St.-Sgt. Omar Sawayind, St.-Sgt. Binyamin Avraham, and Sgt. Adi Avitan, who were kidnapped in a Hizbullah ambush on OCtober 7.

"It isvery difficult to negotiate witha a counterpart like [Hizbullah leader] Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, who is so sophisticated, cunning and ruthless," Rabinovich said. "When dealing with people like him, it is difficult to be a gentleman, but we have to maintain our basic values. We cannot act impatient becasue he beleives he has all the time in the world."

Families of the kidnapped and missing Israeli soldiers in Lebanon are trying to get one million peole around the world to sign an internet petition to help free their sons.

The International Coalition for Missing Israeli Soldiers has asked the public to join their efforts to gather the signatures. It has put together an Internet site with details of the three soldiers kidnapped by Hizbullah on October 7 as well as Israeli businessman Elchanan Tannenbaum, who went missing 59 days ago.

The coalition is also trying to tie any dealt o win their release to the return of four other missing Israeli servicemen. These are IAF navigator Ron Arad, shot down over Lebanon in 1986, and three IDF soldiers missing from teh 1982 Sultan Ya'akov battle: Zachary Baumel, Yehuda Katz, Tzvi Feldman.

"The mission for us is for all the eight missing Israeli servicemen to be part of any deal," said Daniel Grisaro, spokesman for the International Coaliton for Missing Israeli Soldiers.

The petition can be found at http://www.mia.org.il/petition/index.html

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