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Copyright 2001 Ha'aretz

November 12, 2001

HEADLINE: Ron Arad's Family Received Some of his Belongings in 1999

BYLINE: Anat Cygielman

Two years ago, items that were in Ron Arad's possession when his plane was downed over Lebanon in 1986 were returned to the family, his brother Hen told Army radio yesterday.

Over the years, Israel had a number of opportunities to return the missing navigator, including most recently "two years ago, when we received some articles that belong to Ron from those same elements who claim they have nothing to do with Ron, and don't know what happened to him," he said, refusing to detail what was returned.

"We thought everything was going in the right direction, but it wasn't so... the continuation was pain, a facade," Arad said.

"You see how the matter was dealt with and you know that you are dealing with an element that has responsibility... but I didn't see any activity to advance the matter."

Arad criticized the defense establishment in its handling of the affair. "We really believed in the values on which we were raised; that soldiers aren't left behind and nobody rests or stays silent until those who are captured are returned home.

"That was the truth, but now we know it was only a cliche," he said.

"The question remains what motivates the people who are active... is it the imprisoned soldier... or a group of bureaucrats."

In a weekend interview with Ma'ariv, Arad went further, saying that "I know people and establishments whose only purpose in their efforts is to protect their asses.

"Ron isn't the important thing for them. I see power struggles and impotents trying to cover their asses."

He also said that if it becomes apparent the missing aviator is no longer alive, the family will not demand his body for burial in Israel. But he added that the evidence in hand does not point to Arad being dead.

The family, he said, is demanding that a "neutral party' check all the evidence and information collected over the years, so it can look for mistakes and determine if there is information that has yet to be checked.

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