Israel Is in Talks to Free Woman Who Crossed the Syrian Frontier
JERUSALEM – Israel and Syria have long been engaged in Russian-mediated negotiations for a bitter exchange, a prisoner exchange, as an Israeli woman recently crossed the border and Syrian authorities, Syrian state media and Israeli officials on Wednesday Was taken into custody.
The unusual episode was wrapped up, even as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called an emergency meeting of his cabinet on Tuesday evening to describe it as a sensitive humanitarian issue related to Syria.
The drama has started amid snippets of information and rumors. The Syrian news agency, SANA, on Wednesday Reported Syria was working to free its two civilians from Israeli detention, through Russian mediation, in exchange for an Israeli woman who said he had “accidentally” entered Syrian territory in the Golan Heights region. The specifics of the woman’s identity were not clear.
Some details have been released, but Mr. Netanyahu when asked about the episode in an interview with Israeli Army Radio later on Wednesday said, “We are working to save a life.”
He said he would not comment on the news reports, but referred to the leader of Russia, saying, “I can only tell you that I am using my personal relationship with President Putin to solve this problem.” , And we are in the midst of sensitive people. Contacts, which cannot be discussed. ”
The border between the Golan Heights and the Israeli-controlled part of Syria has been tense in recent years and heavily patrolled and guarded by Israeli forces. In the 1967 war, Israel captured the Golan Heights from Syria and later effectively destroyed the region. Although it would be difficult to cross the border by slipping or by accident, some parts are separated by a less forbidden fence than others.
The Syrian report names two detainees whose independence Syria sought from Dib Kahmuz and Nihal al-Maqat and identified them as residents of the Israeli-occupied Syrian Golan Heights. About 20,000 Syrian Druze Arabs live in villages in the Israeli-occupied territory. Many still identify as Syrian and have refused to take Israeli citizenship.
According to Israeli media reports, Mr. Qahumz hails from Ghazal, a disputed village at a volatile junction of Israel, Lebanon and Syria. He was convicted In 2018 and on behalf of Hezbollah, he received a 14-year sentence for smuggling explosives from Lebanon into Israel and for ejecting potential sites for bomb attacks.
A resident of the Israeli-held Golan Heights, Ms. Makt was convicted on charges of abetment, According to media reports, And was released from house arrest on Wednesday.
Israeli Defense Ministers Mr. Netanyahu and Benny Gantz have been in contact with Russian officials in recent times. Mr. Netanyahu’s national security adviser and his chief negotiator were reported to travel to Moscow for talks to return the Israelis to the enemy’s hands.
Russia has worked in the past for Israel and the Syrian government. At a gesture of good intentions in 2016, President Vladimir V. Putin agreed to return to a tank in Israel that was seized in 1982 during a devastating battle with Syrian forces in southern Lebanon, an episode that left three Israeli soldiers missing in action and Israel I gave up. Decades.
In 2019, Moscow Return arbitration Sergeant’s remains. First class Zachery Bommel, an Israeli tank driver killed in that battle.