It seems the recently negotiated prisoner swap agreement between Israel and Hizbullah might start to be implemented as early as tomorrow, Sunday.
The Israeli political system is, perhaps understandably, too preoccupied with the woes of PM Olmert to pay much attention to the progress of either this emerging (or already completed) agreement with Hizbullah, which has been mediated by German government officials, or to the possibly close-to-completion ceasefire agreement with Hamas, mediated by Egypt.
Whatever the final timeline on completion and implementation of these two agreements, however, the fact that the Israeli government has been very seriously engaged in these negotiations has already seriously undercut the “Quarantine Wall” that the Bush administration has long tried to maintain, to prevent its allies around the world away from having any diplomatic dealings whatsoever with either Hamas or Hizbullah (or, come to that, Syria.)
So let’s just quickly review which US allies have been chipping very seriously away at different portions of the Quarantine Wall in the past weeks and months:
- Israel (Hamas, Hizb., and Syria)
Qatar (all three)
Fouad Siniora (Hizbullah… also of note: as I thought might happen, a politically reconfigured Siniora is back again as Lebanon’s PM-designate)
Anyway, within the stories of prisoner releases there are always numerous very gripping human stories.
In Israel, Miki Goldwasser, the mother of the Hizbullah-held IDF soldier Ehud Goldwasser recently expressed her frustration about the neglect to which her family has been subjected by Israeli officials over recent weeks. She said that no official has visited her, “and that no one has reported any kind of new developments on the issue to her family.”
Ms. Goldwasser also expressed her conviction that her son and the other IDF soldier captured by Hizbullah in July 2006 are both still alive, though there remains considerable doubt about that.
My very best wishes to Ms. Goldwasser and the mothers of all the other people in that region who have been captured by enemy forces and held to be quite cynically used as bargaining chips.
Meanwhile, from Al-Manar’s English-language website we can learn some intriguing details about the family background of Nissim Nisr who, according to the website, has been detained in Israel (I believe on charges of acting as a Hizbullah spy), but “will be released on Sunday” as a preliminary step in implementation of the Hizbullah-Israel prisoner swap.
The site says:
- Nassim Nisr was born in 1968 to an Israeli-Jewish mother and a Lebanese Muslim father and left Lebanon during the Israeli invasion in 1982 to join his mother’s family near Tel Aviv. Nisr’s mother Valentine, 70, now lives in the village of Bazouryeh in southern Lebanon, and said that she had [unlike Miki Goldwasser] been informed of her son’s imminent release.
If I were in Lebanon, I would head straight down to Bazouriyeh– hey isn’t that Nasrullah’s home village?–to get an interview with this intriguing Israeli-Jewish woman, Valentine Nisr.
Is she being held in any form of confinement in Bazouriyeh, I wonder, or is she there of her own volition? And what is the story of her, an Israeli-Jewish woman, having married a Lebanese Muslim father, presumably some time before 1968? I hope it’s a good romantic story. Tell us, please!
… So then, in the horrendous Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982 (the same one that afterwards gave birth to Hizbullah), the 14-year-old Nissim, who had been living in Lebanon, left the country to go live with his mother’s family near Tel Aviv. What were his experiences like there at the time? Of course, with a Jewish mother, he too would have been considered Jewish and therefore immediately eligible for Israeli citizenship… Did his mom go with him or stay on in Lebanon, sending him to her relatives to gain some safety from the conflict raging all around?
Did he really later become a spy for Hizbullah? I’d love to hear more of that story, too.
But we may not hear the details of that one any time soon… It is the back-story of Valentine and her spouse’s romance, the boy’s childhood, and his abrupt displacement at age 14 to Israel that I’d love to hear right now.
Tangled webs, eh?