Jerusalem, November 9, 2003
Cabinet Decision: Framework Principles for the Agreement to Release Israeli Prisoners and Hostages Held in Lebanon
The Government hereby resolves:
The Government approves the framework principles for the agreement to release Israeli prisoners and hostages held in Lebanon:
A. The kidnapped soldiers Adi Avitan, Benny Avraham and Omar Sayyad, and the kidnapped citizen Elhanan Tannenbaum will be returned to Israel.
In exchange for the return of the kidnapped Israelis, the State of Israel will release prisoners and detainees who are being held in prison facilities under its control, as well as return bodies and provide information, as follows:
- Approximately 400 Palestinian prisoners and detainees will be released to Judea, Samaria and Gaza. These prisoners and detainees will be selected according to the criteria that those with blood on their hands will not be released, as per Government Resolution No. 606 of July 27, 2003.
- Several dozen prisoners without blood on their hands from Lebanon, Syria, Morocco, Sudan and Libya will be released to their respective countries, except for several of the Lebanese prisoners, who were involved in incidents in Southern Lebanon in which IDF soldiers were killed.
- Except for the aforementioned in paragraph 2, there will be no release of other prisoners with blood on their hands.
- Tens of bodies of Lebanese, and information regarding fallen soldiers, will be transferred to Lebanon.
- Information regarding landmine fields, which was transferred to the UN during the IDF withdrawal from Lebanon, will be relayed.
B. Maj. Gen. (Res.) Ilan Biran, the Prime Ministers coordinator in charge of negotiations for the release of kidnapped and missing Israelis, will continue negotiating until a final agreement is reached, based on the principles detailed in this resolution; the coordinator will continue to pursue any information regarding the fate of captured navigator Major Ron Arad.
C. Maj. Gen. Biran as well as representatives from the Mossad, GSS, IDF, the Israel Police and the Ministry of Justice will compile the list of prisoners and detainees who are to be released.
The list of prisoners and detainees will be approved by the coordinating committee, headed by the Director General of the Ministry of Justice, which was established as per Government Resolution No. 645 of August 4, 2003, in accordance with this resolution.
D. The Government authorizes the Prime Minister and the Minister of Defense to complete and carry out the agreement according to the principles detailed in this resolution.
E. The Government of Israel reiterates its commitment to do its utmost - and never give up - until the captured navigator Major Ron Arad is returned to Israel. The Government instructs all the active parties involved in the efforts to release navigator Ron Arad to continue acting in order to acquire any information regarding navigator Ron Arads location, and ensure his return to the State of Israel.
F. Before implementing the aforementioned agreement, the Prime Minister and Minister of Defense will examine whether or not it is possible to acquire information or anything else which may hasten the return of captured navigator Ron Arad in the context of the negotiations mentioned in paragraph B, and will act to either carry out or suspend the agreement according to information acquired in the said examination.
G. The Government of Israel reiterates its commitment to do its utmost - and never give up - until the three MIAs from the Battle of Sultan Yakoub - Sergeant First Class Zvi Feldman, Sergeant First Class Zachariah Baumel, and Sergeant First Class Yehuda Katz are returned to Israel, as well as do its utmost to discover the fate of Corporal Guy Hever, as well as do its utmost to return to Israel all the MIAs and fallen soldiers whose place of burial is unknown. The Government instructs all the active parties to continue acting in order to acquire any information as to their whereabouts, and return them to the State of Israel.