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Families of Kidnapped Israelis Meet Annan

Wednesday, May 2, 2001 | Tag Cloud Tags: , ,

Families of Kidnapped Israelis Meet Annan
ICEJ NEWS - 05/02/2001
As part of a renewed campaign to exert international pressure on Hizb'Allah to release information on Israeli MIAs held in Lebanon, family members of the hostages met in New York with UN Secretary General Kofi Annan on Tuesday.

After meeting Annan, the families held a joint press conference attended by New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and city council speaker Peter Vallone. "The international community must bring renewed pressure on the terrorist group Hizb'Allah to release the hostages and must call upon the nations that support Hizb'Allah to renounce the cowardly act," said Giuliani. "In the interim, representatives of the International Red Cross must be allowed to visit with the hostages and evaluate their condition."

Last October, Hizb'Allah kidnapped St.-Sgt. Benny Avraham, St.-Sgt. Omar Suwayed, and Sgt. Adi Avitan, as well as civilian businessman Elhanan Tannenbaum. Using a map of Israel's northern border, Haim Avraham, the father of Benny Avraham, outlined the details of his son's kidnapping, citing Annan's own responsibility in the incident, which took place meters from a UN border post.

"The United Nations saw everything that happened. The terrorists used UN cars," said Avraham. "I showed the mayor the photograph of what they used - they used the UN cars, they used everything to take our children. And until now, there is not even one word on what has happened to our children," he said.

Tannenbaum's son and daughter each spoke of their father's plight, including his chronic illness that requires daily treatment. Keren Tannenbaum addressed her statement to her father, hoping that he could hear her.

Giuliani said he would take the information given to him by the families directly to US President George W. Bush and Secretary of State Colin Powell.

In Congress, more than 70 members of the House of Representatives have signed a resolution calling on Lebanon, Syria and Iran to pressure Hizb'Allah to allow international organizations to visit the hostages.

The families also joined the Betar movement in New York at a solidarity rally for the kidnapped Israelis on Tuesday outside the Lebanese Consulate. In an interview with ARMY RADIO, Haim Avraham harshly criticized leaders of the US Jewish community, accusing them of being "disconnected from the reality" in Israel.

Meanwhile, Minister of Defense Benjamin Ben Eliezer met on Monday with Red Cross officials in Israel and criticized them for failing to supply any information regarding the status of the hostages. "The organization failed to carry out its main role to bring a sign that they are alive," Ben Eliezer said, demanding that the Red Cross increase its investigative efforts. In a meeting with Annan on Monday, Foreign Minister Shimon Peres reportedly did not mention the MIAs.

The families will meet with British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook on Thursday to seek the British government's support. While in London, the families will also meet with parliamentarians and activists. The families of the kidnapped Israelis are hoping to collect 1 million signatures for their petition to help free their sons. It can be found at: http://www.mia.org.il/petition.

Used with Permission from International Christian Embassy Jerusalem.

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