08:47 – With 15 minutes to go before the official prisoner exchange between Israel and Hezbollah, the country is collectively holding its breath for the safe return this morning of the two Israeli soldiers that were abducted in June 2006 on the Lebanese border which brought about the Second Lebanon War.
In reality, we’ve suspected that the chances of Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev returning alive are very slim. There’s been no word at all about their condition during the two years since their abduction, no report from the International Red Cross, no report from the UN, nothing. Only hope.
09:06 – The Channel 10 news reported that only now the German intermediary has received information on the condition of the two soldiers and Israeli officials are waiting to hear.
09:19 – Yakov Eilon, presenter of Channel 10’s news, just hinted that the two are no longer alive, that shortly the two would be transferred to the Israeli side of the border “in order to identify them”, a term in Hebrew which is used when talking about identifying bodies.
09:33 – The two soldiers have been turned over to the Red Cross. Still no official word on their condition.
09:41 – Right up until the last moment, the Hezbullah spokesman manipulated the news media into believing that the two might return alive. Then two coffins were taken out of the vehicles and put on display.
May the memories of Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev be blessed. May their families and friends find comfort in their memories.
More to come later; too hurt to talk just now.
Footnote: even if it is a gruesome thought, I was somewhat relieved to hear that their bodies were in an advanced state of decay. More news coverage here and an excellent op-ed piece by Ron Ben-Yishai here. Lots of thought-provoking and angry reactions about today’s events from Israeli bloggers.