Jerusalem, January 24, 2004

Government statement on prisoner exchange
(Communicated by the Prime Minister’s Media Adviser)

The Government of Israel announces that pursuant to its November 9, 2003 decision, an arrangement has been concluded regarding the return of the three missing IDF soldiers – Sgt. Adi Avitan, Staff Sgt. Benyamin Avraham and Staff Sgt. Omar Sawaid – who were kidnapped on October 7, 2000, and abducted citizen Elhanan Tannenbaum.

According to the arrangement and as was agreed on by the Cabinet, in exchange for the return of the aforementioned abducted Israelis, the State of Israel will release prisoners and detainees being held in its prison installations and will hand over Lebanese bodies.

The arrangement specifies a mechanism for carrying out a further arrangement, the goal of which is to secure tangible information on the fate of captive navigator Ron Arad and return him to his home. According to this mechanism, Lebanese prisoner Samir Kuntar will be released after Israel receives concrete proof as to Ron Arad’s fate.

The Government of Israel will continue its efforts to fully implement the arrangement and reiterates its commitment to take any action and make every effort, and not to rest, until all POWs and MIAs are returned to Israel.

The Government of Israel expresses its deep appreciation for the continuing efforts of the German government in helping to bring our boys back home.

The Government of Israel appreciates the dedicated work of the team led by Ilan Biran.

  • List of prisoners from Arab nations slated for release (Hebrew)
  • List of Palestinian prisoners slated for release (Hebrew)
  • List of administrative detainees slated for release (Hebrew)


     Government statement on prisoner exchange-24-Jan-2004
     Government statement on prisoner exchange-24-Jan-2004
    IDF Delegation Departs to Germany – Jan 28, 2004
     Government statement on prisoner exchange-24-Jan-2004
    Cabinet Communique – Jan 25, 2004
     Government statement on prisoner exchange-24-Jan-2004
    Background on Israeli POWs and MIAs