New York, NY 10017
Dear Secretary General,
While efforts are underway to fight terror and secure peace around the world, a related issue warrants your immediate attention. There are now 8 Israeli soldiers and one civilian missing in Syria and Lebanon. They are believed to be captives of terrorist groups under direct Syrian and Iranian control.
On June 11, 1982 three Israeli soldiers: Zachary Baumel, Yehuda Katz and Tzvi Feldman were captured alive by Syrian forces in a battle at Sultan Yaqub. Israeli navigator Major Ron Arad was captured on October 16, 1986, after ejection from his aircraft over Lebanon. Recent reports indicated that an Iranian-backed group in Lebanon was holding Arad. On August 17, 1997, Israeli soldier Guy Hever disappeared on the way home from his army base. An eye-witness account said that he was last seen in army fatigues, heading for the Syrian border.
On October 7, 2000, following Israeli compliance with Security Council Resolution 425 and in direct violation of international law, Hizbullah attacked and abducted three more Israeli soldiers: Sergeant Adi Avitan, Staff Sergeant Binyamin Avraham and Staff Sergeant Omer Souad.
These soldiers were on a routine patrol within the recognized boundaries of the
State of Israel when they were abducted.
The United States has called on Syria and Lebanon to assist in the timely release of these Israelis. The Israeli government has appealed to the UN Secretary General to assist on their behalf. The International Red Cross has also attempted to intervene to arrange for a visit with kidnapped Israelis.
All of these Israelis were last held in territories controlled by Syria, and Syria must be held accountable for the fate of these prisoners. Thus far, Syria has not complied with requests from the United States, the Red Cross nor any international body regarding the status of the soldiers.
With the assistance of the international community, Israel has attempted to bring its men home to their loved ones. Despite these efforts, their whereabouts and conditions are not known, they are not free, and the agony of their families continues every day.
I earnestly request that you do all within your means to resolve this urgent human rights issue. The plight of those held captive is a crucial, and I hope that you will find a way to quickly ameliorate their situation.