Are 51 Clothing Fragments Enough for a Ruling?
For the past 48 hours, a maelstrom of rumor and controversy has swirledagonizingly around the undisclosed “solid intelligence” presented to the press and bereaved families as 98% proof that the three Israeli soldiers kidnapped last October are dead. The Chief Army Chaplain, charged by the chief of staff with issuing a final ruling, has been rushing between chief rabbis and canonical authorities in search of advice on the vexed question.
All three families refuse to believe their loved ones are dead until they see their bodies. debkafile consulted its military sources to find out what new intelligence set off this danse macabre, only to learn that it consisted of 51 torn, bloody fragments of clothes and personal effects that UN observers from a nearby post in Lebanon near the Israeli border collected in the jeep after it was blown up with the three soldiers. The United Nations officials, who have consistently lied and prevaricated about the circumstances of the kidnapping, kept those fragments in a store in their border station at Nakura. Now, as a result of a bureaucratic attack of conscience, someone at UN Headquarters decided to hand them over, together with the judgment that the bullet holes and blast marks on the clothing are sufficient evidence that the men were killed on the spot.
The UN officials in handing over the fragments asked Israel make an end of the affair, which has sorely embarrassed the world body’s top officials. Their condition was that Israeli would not disclose the source of its fresh “intelligence”, or even its exact nature.
When Israeli representatives pressed for information on the location of the soldiers’ bodies, UN officials responded that they were out of the picture and intended staying there. Those fragments, according to debkafile‘s military sources, were handed to the bereaved families by Chief Personnel Officer of the IDF, together with the recommendation to regard the men as lost in action. That recommendation has not been accepted.