German Jewish leader: Stop Hezbollah contacts

Advocates of negotiating with Hezbollah should eschew contact because of celebrations for the release of terrorists, says a leader of German Jewry.

Dieter Graumann, a vice president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, said Thursday that politicians and pundits should recognize Hezbollah for the terrorist organization it is.

Jews in Germany “are mourning together with the families, relatives and the entire State of Israel” after the return of the bodies of captive Israeli soldiers Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev to their families in Israel, Graumann said.

Berlin’s Jewish community is planning a July 20 ceremony to honor Goldwasser and Regev.

Graumann said that Hezbollah’s “cynical celebrations” over the reciprocal release of Samir Kuntar and four other terrorists “shows once again that Hezbollah is a ruthless terror organization whose activists and supporters are no freedom fighters but rather cold-blooded murderers.”

He thanked the German government, as well as the United Nations, for its role in mediating the exchange. According to news reports, the exchange was mediated by German negotiator Gerhard Conrad, an intelligence agency officer who mediated a major Israel-Hezbollah prisoner exchange in 2004, following a request by the United Nations.

Sources told the news agency that Germany would continue helping Israel learn what happened to other missing soldiers, as it has for 15 years. But reportedly that assistance does not apply to Gilad Shalit, who is still missing in Gaza.

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