Last week, the Reverand Jesse Jackson arrived in Israel to act as an intermediary in helping to return abducted Israeli hostages to Israel. Two Israeli hostages are now being held by the Hezbollah terror group in Lebanon, while one Israeli hostage is held by Hamas terrorists in Gaza.

Rev. Jackson arrived in Israel after receiving assurances from Hezbollah that the Israeli hostages in Lebanon are alive and well, and he asked their families to be patient.

The Evening Bulletin made a personal call to him at his hotel room, with one question. Since the Red Cross had not even been allowed to visit the Israeli captives, on what basis could he say that they were alive? The saga of three kidnapped Israeli hostages who were abducted by Hezbollah in October, 2000 speaks for itself: For three years, the Israeli government and the Hezbollah and all intermediaries assured the public that all three were alive. Only after pressure was brought to bear on the Red Cross three years later did the public learn that all three Israeli hostages had been murdered shortly after their abduction by Hezbollah.

Rev. Jackson’s spokesman called to say that the message had been delivered to him. Rev. Jackson then made a commitment: To return to Lebanon to ask Hezbollah for concrete proof that the two Israeli hostages are indeed alive.

Yesterday, after Rev. Jackson left Lebanon, The Evening Bulletin reached his spokesman and asked him whether Hezbollah had provided any proof that the hostages being held in Lebanon are alive. The answer: Hezbollah would not provide any proof that the two Israeli hostages are alive.

The Evening Bulletin has therefore asked Rev. Jackson two further questions:

1. Will he issue a statement that Hezbollah has refused to provide any proof that the two Israeli hostages are alive?

2. Will Rev. Jackson contact the families of the hostages to inform them of Hezbullah’s refusal?

Rev. Jackson has not responded. Instead, Rev. Jackson returned empty handed to the United States, after raising hopes of families who await the return of their loved ones.

The question remains: Will Rev. Jesse Jackson admit that he was misled by Hezbollah and that he had no basis to reassure the families of those hostages that they are “alive and well”?

©The Bulletin 2006

David Bedein is an MSW community organizer and an investigative journalist.   In 1987, Bedein established the Israel Resource News Agency at Beit Agron to accompany foreign journalists in their coverage of Israel, to balance the media lobbies established by the PLO and their allies.   Mr. Bedein has reported for news outlets such as CNN Radio, Makor Rishon, Philadelphia Inquirer, Los Angeles Times, BBC and The Jerusalem Post, For four years, Mr. Bedein acted as the Middle East correspondent for The Philadelphia Bulletin, writing 1,062 articles until the newspaper ceased operation in 2010. Bedein has covered breaking Middle East negotiations in Oslo, Ottawa, Shepherdstown, The Wye Plantation, Annapolis, Geneva, Nicosia, Washington, D.C., London, Bonn, and Vienna. Bedein has overseen investigative studies of the Palestinian Authority, the Expulsion Process from Gush Katif and Samaria, The Peres Center for Peace, Peace Now, The International Center for Economic Cooperation of Yossi Beilin, the ISM, Adalah, and the New Israel Fund.   Since 2005, Bedein has also served as Director of the Center for Near East Policy Research.   A focus of the center's investigations is The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). In that context, Bedein authored Roadblock to Peace: How the UN Perpetuates the Arab-Israeli Conflict - UNRWA Policies Reconsidered, which caps Bedein's 28 years of investigations of UNRWA. The Center for Near East Policy Research has been instrumental in reaching elected officials, decision makers and journalists, commissioning studies, reports, news stories and films. In 2009, the center began decided to produce short movies, in addition to monographs, to film every aspect of UNRWA education in a clear and cogent fashion.   The center has so far produced seven short documentary pieces n UNRWA which have received international acclaim and recognition, showing how which UNRWA promotes anti-Semitism and incitement to violence in their education'   In sum, Bedein has pioneered The UNRWA Reform Initiative, a strategy which calls for donor nations to insist on reasonable reforms of UNRWA. Bedein and his team of experts provide timely briefings to members to legislative bodies world wide, bringing the results of his investigations to donor nations, while demanding reforms based on transparency, refugee resettlement and the demand that terrorists be removed from the UNRWA schools and UNRWA payroll.   Bedein's work can be found at: www.IsraelBehindTheNews.com and www.cfnepr.com. A new site,unrwa-monitor.com, will be launched very soon.

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