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Copyright 2002 Jerusalem Post
Jerusalem Post

October 15, 2002

HEADLINE: Tannenbaum Family Marks Two Years Since Kidnapping

BYLINE: David Rudge

"Two years after Hizbullah announced it had kidnapped businessman, Elhanan Tannenbaum, his family is still hoping for his safe return.

"There are those who say that time heals wounds, but our heartache only grows stronger as the time passes with our father still in captivity," said Tannenbaum's son, Ori, ahead of Tuesday's ceremony with President Moshe Katsav at Beit Hanassi to mark the second anniversary of the kidnapping.

"To our great concern at this particular moment, with war clouds looming, there are no negotiations for an exchange of prisoners and the talks are deadlocked," he said.

"The US is directing a campaign against global terrorism and also against the Iraqi regime of President Sadam Hussein... In the framework of this process, we are deeply worried that the issue of the individual who is a victim of terror - in this case our father - might be overlooked, forgotten, or even ignored."

Tannenbaum, a reserve colonel, was snatched by Hizbullah while on a trip abroad a week after the organization kidnapped St.-Sgts. Benny Avraham, Omar Suwayeed, and Adi Avitan, in the Mount Dov region.

Earlier this year, the IDF said the three are believed dead. Tannenbaum, however, is presumed alive.

A few months ago, German newspaper reports spoke of progress in negotiations said to involve the release of 100 Lebanese and Palestinians in exchange for the freeing of Tannenbaum.

Lebanese press reports later said that the proposal has been rejected by Hizbullah and since then there have been no reports of developments.

"The responsibility for this rests first and foremost with Hizbullah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah who, apparently, does not even care about the feelings of the families of the Lebanese held be Israel," said Ori Tannenbaum.

"This does not mean, however, that we should sit with folded arms. What is needed are creative ideas and new initiatives to break this deadlock."

Tannenbaum said the family "in its worst nightmares" had never expected negotiations to drag on for so long.

"Not a day goes by without us worrying if he is being treated well or maybe is being tortured, whether he is receiving medication for his chronic asthma and if he is healthy in body and mind. The fact that he is alive helps sustain us."

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