GENEVA (Jul. 13)
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) confirmed here today that Israel has agreed to allow its representatives to visit Palestinian prisoners captured in Lebanon, on a regular basis, beginning next week.
The ICRC said Israel agreed to the terms of the Geneva Convention which provide that the Red Cross may interview the prisoners without witnesses and that a regular schedule of repeat visits is established. The prisoners, members of the Palestine Liberation Organization, are being held in a detention camp near Nabatiya in south Lebanon. Their number has been estimated at between 6,000-9,000.
The ICRC said it is seeking to have them granted prisoner of war status but so far Israel has refused and persists in treating PLO captives as administrative detainees. The ICRC also disclosed that it has received no reply from Syria to its inquiry as to whether Syria holds any Israeli soldiers captive. Several Israeli soldiers are listed as missing and the hope in Israel was that they were captured by the Syrians rather than by the PLO.