FAMILIES OF 12 MISSING IRANIAN JEWS TO FILE HIGH COURT PETITION TO BLOCK HIZBOLLAH DEAL OVER RELEASE OF INFORMATION TO TEHRAN ON FATE OF MISSING IRANIAN DIPLOMATS
Demand Israel Receive "Quid Pro Quo": Missing Jews for Missing Diplomats
The families of 12 missing Iranian Jews will file a petition in the Israeli High Court of Justice in Jerusalem on Monday, June 30th, seeking to block the government from releasing information on the fate of four missing Iranian diplomats as part of the deal with Hizbollah. The Jews were arrested in the 1990s as they sought to escape from Iran across the border with Pakistan and they are believed to still be in Iranian prisons. The Iranian diplomats were captured by Christian militia forces in South Lebanon in 1982.
The urgent petition, to be filed by the families' attorney Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, director of the Shurat HaDin Israel Law Center human rights organization, demands that the Prime Minister not authorize the transfer of information regarding the diplomats until such time as reliable and detailed information is received about the missing Jews' fate. The families of the missing Jews have never received any acknowledgment of their loved ones' arrests, status or whereabouts from the Islamic regime.
Shurat HaDin claims it has reliable information that at least one of the Jews is still alive and being held as a prisoner in Tehran.
The petition will argue that the government must honor the obligations imposed upon it by the Israeli High Court approximately two years ago that [the Israeli government] "Push forward diligently without sparing any effort in order to gain information about the [12 missing] Jews of Iran." The families are insisting that there be a "quid pro quo" on information about their family members in exchange for the release of the details on the fate of the missing Iranians.
Darshan-Leitner emphasized that, the families' are not appealing against the deal to bring back the Hizbollah captives itself but rather are demanding that the fate of the 12 missing Jews be included as a "quid pro quo" before any information about the diplomats is released.
In the years between 1994-1997, 12 Iranian Jews who attempted to flee Iran and emigrate to Israel disappeared without a trace. All of the Jews were attempting to cross the Iran-Pakistan border. It is alleged by the families that the Jews were kidnapped by Iranian security services and are still being held captive in Tehran.
Details of a planned prisoner exchange with Hezbollah released by the government of Israel today call for Israel, in addition to other concessions to provide the United Nations with information concerning 4 Iranian diplomats who were abducted in Beirut in July 1982 during the first Lebanon War, by a Lebanese-Christian militia (the Samir Jaja faction), in South Lebanon. The information on the fate of the missing Iranian officials is being requested by Hezbollah's financial patrons in Tehran and the United Nations has been appointed as the transmitter.
In a warning letter sent to the Prime Minister last week, Shurat HaDin wrote: "If the Israeli government intends to honor their court-ordered obligations, the government is not permitted to hand over information in its possession regarding the four Iranian diplomats, which is the last bargaining chip Israel has that could shed some light on the fate of the twelve missing."
Attorney Darshan-Leitner has stated: "We have proof that at least some of these missing Jews are being held in Iranian prisons today. These individuals attempted to come to Israel at the encouragement and with the assistance of the Israeli government. It is therefore the responsibility of the Israeli government to do everything it can to gain reliable, specific information regarding their whereabouts in order to save them if we can and give closure and end the suffering of the wives, children, fathers and mothers [of the twelve] to those who were murdered by the Islamic Republic.
"Without proof that the information has been received from Iran and transmitted through Hezbollah, the only thing we can draw from this is that the fates of the twelve [Iranian Jews] have been abandoned. It is simply unthinkable that the State of Israel would convey information about the four disappeared Iranian diplomats without receiving in exchange information about the twelve missing Jews in Iran. Information about the diplomats is the last bargaining chip in Israel's hands toward acquiring information about the missing Jews in Iran. If we give it up with nothing in return, the possibility of knowing what happened to the twelve missing is totally dead.
"Saving the lives of these missing Jews, still being held in Iranian prisons after years of torture must be a central component of any deal with Hizbollah and Iran."
Contact: Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, 011.972.52.383.7020, 011.972.3.751.4175
Mike Cohen, 011.972.54.499.6453, 011.972.3.751.4175
Main Points of the Framework of the Agreement on the Release of Israel's Missing and Captive Soldiers in Lebanon
(As Communicated by the Prime Minister's Media Adviser)
The Government today (Sunday), 29.6.08, approved the outline for the agreement on releasing the abducted soldiers in Lebanon:
1. The abducted soldiers Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev will be returned to Israel, a report on the disappearance of Ron Arad (in continuation of Government decision #978 from 9.11.03) will be delivered to Israel and remains from the Second Lebanon War will also be received.
In exchange for the return of the abducted soldiers, the State of Israel will release prisoners and detainees being held in its prison facilities, and will transfer bodies and information, as follows:
A. Prisoner Samir Kuntar and four illegal Lebanese fighters being held by Israel will be released to Lebanon.
B. The bodies of dozens of infiltrators and terrorists, including eight members of Hezbollah, will be delivered to Lebanon.
C. Information on the four missing Iranian diplomats will be delivered to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
D. Following the implementation of the deal, Palestinian prisoners will be released. The number and identities of the prisoners will be determined at the sole discretion of the State of Israel.
2. Mr. Ofer Dekel, the official responsible for the negotiations on behalf of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, will continue the process of implementing the negotiations according to the principles detailed in this decision.
3. The Government will hold an additional discussion in order to complete and implement the agreement according to the principles detailed in this decision.
4. The Government of Israel reiterates and confirms its obligation to exhaust all that is required in order to obtain credible and solid information that will shed light on the fate of Israel Air Force navigator Capt. Ron Arad.
5. At the same time, the Government of Israel reiterates and confirms its commitment to continue acting for the release of Cpl. Gilad Shalit.
6. The Government of Israel will not slacken in its efforts to locate and bring home the missing and those Israeli soldiers whose resting place is unknown.