Britain withholding MIA documents from Israeli parents


(JTA) — The British government is refusing to release documents that could shed light on the fate of three missing Israeli soldiers, the Jewish Chronicle reported.

Miriam Baumel, the mother of one of the Israeli soldiers who has been missing in action since 1982, has been requesting the release of the documents for the last two years, according to the Britain-based newspaper.

"We are conscious that the release of sensitive information would cause harm to our relationship with Syria," the British Foreign Office has said in response to the requests, according to the newspaper.

Israeli soldiers Zachary Baumel, Yehuda Katz and Zvi Feldman have been officially listed as missing in action since a battle with Syrian and Palestinian forces near the Lebanese village of Sultan Yaqub at the end of the Lebanon war.

Syrian forces are believed to have captured the soldiers and paraded them through the streets of Damascus. Britain’s ambassador to Syria, Ivor Lucas, filed a report to London on the day of the battle and is believed to have witnessed the soldiers’ capture, according to the Chronicle.

Miriam Baumel, through her British lawyers, is attempting to obtain a copy of the report. A Freedom of Information Act appeal has been filed, though no date has been set for the hearing.

"I am calling on the British government to act in a humanitarian manner and let the families know by releasing this document, for us to go further in finding our children," she told the Jewish Chronicle. "If you have children, if one of your children would be lost, how would you feel?"

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