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September 20, 2014 / 25 Elul, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘Lebanon War’

‘Prisoner X’ Zygier Ruined Mission to Return Bodies of 3 Soldiers

Tuesday, May 7th, 2013

Australian Mossad agent Ben Zygier, previously known as the ‘Prisoner X’ who committed suicide in an Israel jail, unintentionally sabotaged a Mossad top secret operation to bring home the bodies of three Israeli soldiers missing Lebanon.

One of the missing was American-Israeli Zachary Baumel, whose remains never have been located.

The Australian Broadcasting Corp. (ABC), which broke the original story identifying Zygier and his suicide, reported Tuesday that his reckless and unauthorized operation, which he wanted to use to help him advance in the Mossad ranks, exposed a top Mossad agent.

Israel had been trying for three decades to locate and bring home the remains of Baumel, Yehuda Katz and Tzvi Feldman, all of whom were killed by Syrian forces in a battle in Lebanon’s BekkaValley in 1982.

The ABC report reveals why Israeli authorities jailed him in the highest security cell in Israel, in the same wing that held Yigal Amir, who assassinated former Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin.

The report also explains the fears that must have been going through Zygier’s mind while in jail and which led him to hang himself.

He faced 22 years in prison for espionage and treason as well as the life-long disgrace for his family in Israel and Australia.

He hanged himself in December 2010 after being secretly jailed several months earlier in the year.

Zygier butchered a detailed Mossad operation to bring home the remains thorough an agent whom he exposed when trying, on his own, to recruit a Lebanese man who then double-crossed him.

The exposed agent is Ziad Al Homsi, whom the Mossad recruited in 2007 in Lebanon. He told ABC the Mossad recruited him by using a Syrian who claimed his brother in Europe was working to return the remains of missing Israeli solders.

Al Homsi previously had led Lebanese soldiers in the war against Israel in Lebanon and knew of the battle in which the three missing soldiers were killed.

The Mossad believed they were buried in Lebanon although pictures from Syria showed their bodies being paraded through the streets of Damascus.

Israeli secret agents handed over to Al Homsi the location of the graves, and he was supposed to exhume them and leave the remains for other Mossad agents to retrieve.

But Zygier had exposed him.

The Australian native’s career as a spy was not going well in 2008, when he was put to work at a desk job near Tel Aviv.

He decided to prove himself by trying to recruit a Hezbollah operative as a double agent, who in turn pressured Zygier to prove his credentials as a Mossad agent.

Zygier obliged by informing him of the identity of Al Homsi. The would-be Mossad agent Zygier tried to recruit then double-crossed him and spilled the beans to Lebanese authorities.

They arrested Al Homsi before he could exhume the remains and sentenced him to 15 years in jail. He was released thee years afterwards. ABC said that Al Homsi claims he actually was a double agent and that Lebanon knew of his Mossad activities.

Father Of Missing Soldier Dies Not Knowing Son’s Fate

Wednesday, June 17th, 2009

      JERUSALEM – The father of a Brooklyn-born Israeli soldier who was captured by Syria 27 years ago died last week at age 81 having never learned the fate of his son.
 
      Yona Baumel’s main quest in life was to discover what had happened to his son, Zachary, captured in Lebanon in 1982. Information emerged in the past few years that Zachary was still alive and being held in Syria. Yona Baumel had petitioned the Israeli government to do more to work for the release of his soldier son.
 
      “We are just trying to bring Zachary home,” Yona told this reporter in a 2006 interview in Jerusalem. “I just want my son back. I wish the Israeli government would do more but so far they have largely done nothing.”
 
      Zachary Baumel, a dual American-Israeli citizen, was taken along with two Israeli members of his tank crew, Yehuda Katz and Tzvi Feldman, during the Lebanon War. All three were photographed in Damascus on the day of their capture, and several eyewitnesses, including a Time magazine reporter, said they watched a parade in which the tank and crew were led through a major street in Damascus and flaunted to cheering crowds. The ceremony was the last time the soldiers were seen publicly.
 
      In March 2005, Yona Baumel told WorldNetDaily that sources he cultivated in Syria told him they visited his son that year at a Syrian military installation just north of the border with Iraq. Baumel was also given a book from a confidante of a family in Syria that contains coded messages Baumel says could only have been written by his son.
 
      Baumel showed WND pages from the book, a 1999 novel titled The Map of Love. The lettering was stained as a result of extensive Israeli forensics testing, but a series of marks are visible under the letters “BAZMUTACUMKCEL” which rearranged spell “ZACK BAUMEL MTUC.” The MTUC, Yona explained, came from an old family joke.
 
      “It had to have been written by Zack,” said Baumel. “It refers to an old joke he was told from a long time ago when his mother, whose maiden name was Miriam Turetsky, or MT, was a kid. The other children would point at her head and say, “It’s empty you see,” or “MTUC.”
 
      Additionally, phrases throughout the book were underlined or circled, including “A child forsaken,” “I have hope” and “Help me.”
 
      Baumel said the evidence gave him hope and a renewed sense of urgency in his campaign to find his son.
 
      “The information continues to trickle in,” said Baumel at the time.
 
      He and Stuart Ditchek, Zachary’s childhood friend and the founder of the Committee for the Release of Zachary Baumel, attempted several times to petition the Syrian government to release Zachary or to set up a personal meeting with President Bashar Assad. Their efforts were rebuffed.
 
      “Over the years, a wealth of information has accrued that the Syrian Government is directly responsible in this case,” Baumel said.
 
      Zachary Baumel was born in Brooklyn, N.Y., and attended yeshiva until his family immigrated to Israel in 1970, where he graduated high school and enlisted in the Israeli army. He nearly finished his military service when he was called up to serve in the Lebanon War. Just hours before the declaration of a cease-fire, Baumel was sent into battle near the Lebanese village of Sultan Yaqub and subsequently captured. That day, 21 Israelis were killed and many more were injured.
 
      Several weeks after Baumel’s capture, Syrian officials said they buried four bodies in a Jewish cemetery. Baumel was thought to have been among the dead. But a year later, the Red Cross exhumed the graves and found the bodies were those of three Arabs and one Israeli missing from the same battle.
 
      Since then Syrian officials have given conflicting reports to the media, including statements claiming Baumel and his three Israeli crewmen were still alive.
 
      In 2006 Israeli diplomatic sources told WND Syrian officials implied through third party messengers that Baumel is still alive.
 
      Prior to the signing of the Oslo Accords in 1993, PLO leader Yasser Arafat presented Israel with half of Baumel’s dog tag and claimed he had information on the missing soldier’s whereabouts. Arafat later refused to release further details.
 

      “The new information we have been given [indicating Zachary is being held in Syria] is very compelling that Zachary is alive,” Ditchek said. “We will get this resolved one way or another.”

Netanyahu: Israel Committed To Comprehensive Peace Deal

Wednesday, April 1st, 2009

Benjamin Netanyahu told his newly sworn-in Cabinet on Tuesday that Israel is committed to reaching a comprehensive peace with the Arab world.

The Cabinet is the largest in Israeli history – 30 ministers and at least another six deputy ministers – even though Netanyahu himself, as opposition leader, had called the relatively large Kadima government “ostentatious and wasteful.”

Defending his seeming about-face, Netanyahu said the cost to the Israeli taxpayer of not having a stable government would be many times higher than the cost of added ministers and ministries.

The coalition was formed in a piecemeal manner. First to sign with the Likud was Yisrael Beiteinu (Israel Our Home), headed by Avigdor Lieberman, followed by Shas and the Jewish Home. The Labor Party was a surprise addition at nearly the last minute.

Ongoing negotiations with the National Union went nowhere, especially after Labor joined up, but talks with United Torah Judaism were expected to conclude successfully, perhaps by midweek.

In his inaugural address, the new prime minister said, “We will not let anyone question our right to exist. Israel cannot afford to treat statements against it lightheartedly.”

The speech, in which Netanyahu also said he would do whatever it took to bring home captive soldier Gilad Shalit, was interrupted at several points by angry lawmakers.

Shalit’s parents, as well as the parents of Israeli soldier Nachshon Wachsman, who was kidnapped and killed by Hamas terrorists in 1994, attended the swearing-in.

In his final address, outgoing Prime Minister Ehud Olmert told the Knesset, “I haven’t a shred of bitterness or of anger. I’m stepping down with pride, with my head held high and with a deep sense of gratitude for the privilege I have had to lead the State of Israel.”

Olmert defended his tenure, saying that both the Second Lebanon War in 2006 and the recent Gaza operation were necessary, and that the Lebanon War’s outcome was positive; that his government’s peace efforts were recognized by the international community; and that his fiscal policy bolstered the economy. He also asserted that his Kadima Party, led by Tzipi Livni, would be a responsible opposition.

In a bit of last-minute drama, Silvan Shalom, Netanyahu’s chief party rival, agreed in negotiations immediately before the swearing-in to enter the government as vice premier and regional development minister.

Shalom wanted the Foreign Ministry portfolio or another high-profile position, and had threatened to stay out of the government if he did not receive one. Former IDF chief of staff Moshe Ya’alon also holds the position of vice premier. (JTA and INN)

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/global//2009/04/01/

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