JERUSALEM (Oct. 5)
The Israeli government has turned down an offer by El Fatah to free an Israeli watchman they kidnapped ten months ago in exchange for a number of convicted Arab terrorists serving sentences in Israeli jails, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency learned today from reliable sources. According to the source, El Fatah offered to release 54-year-old Shmuel Rosenwasser. of Metullah who was seized by Arab guerrillas near the Lebanese border on the night of Dec. 31, 1969. He was subsequently taken to Jordan. In return, El Fatah demanded the release of convicted terrorists, among them Mahmoud Hijazi who was sentenced to death by an Israeli military court in 1965. His sentence was later commuted to life imprisonment. The source said that Israeli authorities rejected the El Fatah offer because Israel, as a matter of principle, refuses to make exchange deals or to bargain with terrorists. The source disclosed that during the height of negotiations for the release of hijacked airline hostages held captive in Jordan by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, Israeli representatives refused to accept several envelopes containing the names of Palestinian guerrillas the PFLP wanted freed While refusing to deal with El Fatah, Israel is pressuring Lebanese authorities to secure Rosenwasser’s release on grounds that his kidnappers came from Lebanese territory. Israel has said it was willing to release 11 captured Lebanese soldiers in exchange for Rosenwasser.