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Tag Archives: Gilad Shalit

Carter: Hamas eager to renew talks for Shalit’s release

Member of the 'Council of Elders' Delegation former U.S. President Jimmy Carter listens to Palestinian residents (not seen) during a visit to the Elders Delegation in the Arab East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan on October 21, 2010 in East Jerusalem. The Elders, an independent council of retired world figures, visited the neighbourhood to speak with Palestinian residents whose homes are facing demolition. (Photo : Ammar Awad - Pool/Getty Images)

October 21,2 010 (KATAKAMI / HAARETZ) — The Elders hold meetings with Hamas officials, discuss stalled negotiations for Shalit’s release and Middle East peace talks.

Former American President Jimmy Carter said Thursday that Hamas was interested in renewing negotiations for a prisoner swap deal in exchange for captive Israel Defense Forces soldier Gilad Shalit.

“They let us know… they are very eager to proceed,” Carter told reporters in East Jerusalem several days after meeting Hamas officials in Syria.

Top Hamas official Musa Abu Marzuq confirmed Saturday reports recently denied by the Hamas party that the German mediator, Gerhard Conrad, visited the coastal enclave two weeks ago in a bid to resume the frozen negotiations.

“They are very glad that the German negotiator has been back on the scene lately and that Israeli Prime Minister [Benjamin] Netanyahu has made some positive statements about a prisoner exchange,” Carter said, adding that “they maintained that they are very eager to have a swap but they are demanding the release of some prisoners that are not acceptable to the Israeli negotiators.”

The former president, who arrived in Israel with a delegation of former world leaders, The Elders, held meetings with Hamas officials in Syria, during which they discussed the stalled negotiations fro Shalit’s release and Middle East peace talks.

Shalit was kidnapped by Gaza militants in a cross-border raid in 2006 and has been held by Hamas since. Hamas has demanded the release of hundreds of Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli prisons in exchange for Shalit’s freedom.

The negotiations have been stuck in recent months following Conrad’s failure to reach a deal. The previous round of talks broke down due to Israel’s rejection of Hamas’s demands.

The Elders delegation includes, besides Carter, former Irish president Mary Robinson and former UN envoy Lakhdar Brahimi.

During the Elders’ visit to the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan, carter criticized the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and said that East Jerusalem should be the capitol of a Palestinian state.

In the past week the Elders have visited Syria, Ramallah, Gaza, Egypt and Jordan. Carter, however, did not join the Elder’s visit to Gaza on Saturday.

During their visit on Syria on Tuesday, Carter called for Israel to lift completely its blockade on the Gaza Strip. Despite the U.S. and the European Union’s labeling of Hamas as a terrorist organization, The Elders met with exiled Hamas politburo leader Khaled Meshal, as Carter has done during previous regional visits.

Following their talks with Assad and Meshal, The Elders said people in the region have “very low expectations” that the current U.S.-led talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, which excluded Hamas, would succeed.

 

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PM Netanyahu Urges Russia to Pressure Hamas for Gilad Shalit Release

JERUSALEM, ISRAEL – JUNE 27: In this handout image provided by the Israeli Government Press Office (GPO), Israeli PM Benyamin Netanyau (R) meets with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov June 27, 2010 in Jerusalem, Israel.


Photostream : Israeli Soldier Gilad Shalit Still Alive: http://wp.me/pL1vT-1sO

PM Netanyahu : My heart is with Shalit, family. : http://wp.me/pL1vT-1t2

Medvedev to Mashaal: Free Gilad Schalit

Junw 29, 2010

(San Francisco Sentinel.Com)   Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday asked Russia to exert influence on Hamas to bring about the immediate release of captured Israel Defense Forces soldier Gilad Shalit.

In talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, Netanyahu asked Moscow to take advantage of its relations with the Islamist group to push for a prisoner swap deal that would free Shalit after four years in captivity.

The family of the abducted soldier, seized by Palestinian militants in a 2006 cross-border raid from the Gaza Strip, arrived in the Haifa area on Tuesday with some 3,000 supporters on the third day of a protest march to the prime minister’s residence in Jerusalem.

Marchers aim to reach Jerusalem on Friday after setting out on Sunday from the Shalit family home in the Galilee town of Mitzpeh Hila.

Shalit’s parents, Noam and Aviva, said last week that they would remain in a protest tent outside Netanyahu’s residence until their son was released and could go home with them.

Also on Tuesday, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said following his meeting with Lavrov that there was “absolutely no chance of reaching a Palestinian state before the year 2012″.

Lieberman reportedly told Lavrov, who arrived in Israel on an official visit, that Israel opposed Russia’s recent advances toward Hamas. Lavrov responded that it was impossible to ignore the Islamist organization’s popularity amongst Palestinians, particularly in Gaza.

The reported closed-door disagreement quickly became a public one, as the Russian minister openly defended his country’s Middle East policy.

“Russia is doing the right thing by contacting Hamas,” adding that “doing nothing would help no one,” Lavrov said in a joint press conference with Lieberman. “In all our talks with Hamas we have tried to convince them to switch to the political track, and support the Arab peace initiative.”

Lieberman, in turn, dismissed the disagreement, saying that the fact that the two nations were conducting dialogue in the matter was no secret.

PM Netanyahu Urges Russia to Pressure Hamas for Gilad Shalit Release

JERUSALEM, ISRAEL – JUNE 27: In this handout image provided by the Israeli Government Press Office (GPO), Israeli PM Benyamin Netanyau (R) meets with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov June 27, 2010 in Jerusalem, Israel.


Photostream : Israeli Soldier Gilad Shalit Still Alive: http://wp.me/pL1vT-1sO

PM Netanyahu : My heart is with Shalit, family. : http://wp.me/pL1vT-1t2

Medvedev to Mashaal: Free Gilad Schalit

Junw 29, 2010

(San Francisco Sentinel.Com)   Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday asked Russia to exert influence on Hamas to bring about the immediate release of captured Israel Defense Forces soldier Gilad Shalit.

In talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, Netanyahu asked Moscow to take advantage of its relations with the Islamist group to push for a prisoner swap deal that would free Shalit after four years in captivity.

The family of the abducted soldier, seized by Palestinian militants in a 2006 cross-border raid from the Gaza Strip, arrived in the Haifa area on Tuesday with some 3,000 supporters on the third day of a protest march to the prime minister’s residence in Jerusalem.

Marchers aim to reach Jerusalem on Friday after setting out on Sunday from the Shalit family home in the Galilee town of Mitzpeh Hila.

Shalit’s parents, Noam and Aviva, said last week that they would remain in a protest tent outside Netanyahu’s residence until their son was released and could go home with them.

Also on Tuesday, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said following his meeting with Lavrov that there was “absolutely no chance of reaching a Palestinian state before the year 2012″.

Lieberman reportedly told Lavrov, who arrived in Israel on an official visit, that Israel opposed Russia’s recent advances toward Hamas. Lavrov responded that it was impossible to ignore the Islamist organization’s popularity amongst Palestinians, particularly in Gaza.

The reported closed-door disagreement quickly became a public one, as the Russian minister openly defended his country’s Middle East policy.

“Russia is doing the right thing by contacting Hamas,” adding that “doing nothing would help no one,” Lavrov said in a joint press conference with Lieberman. “In all our talks with Hamas we have tried to convince them to switch to the political track, and support the Arab peace initiative.”

Lieberman, in turn, dismissed the disagreement, saying that the fact that the two nations were conducting dialogue in the matter was no secret.

Photostream : Israeli Soldier Gilad Shalit Still Alive

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Noam and Aviva, the parents of captive Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit wearing white T-shirts with the slogan: ‘Gilad is still alive,’ leave their home on June 27, 2010 in Mitzpe Hila as they set off with other family members and thousands of supporters on a 200-kilometre (120-mile) trek, which is expected to take around 12 days, in a solemn protest march from their hometown near Israel’s northern border with Lebanon to the Jerusalem residence of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to mark four years since their son was captured by Palestinian militants in Gaza in June 2006. (Photo : Getty)

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Motorcyclists join the family of captive Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, and thousands of supporters as they set off on June 27, 2010 on a 200-kilometre (120-mile) trek, which is expected to take around 12 days, in a solemn protest march from their hometown Mitzpe Hila nearIsrael’s northern border with Lebanon to the Jerusalem residence of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to mark four years since their son was captured by Palestinian militants in Gaza in June 2006.

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The family of captive Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, sets off with thousands of supporters on June 27, 2010 on a 200-kilometre (120-mile) trek, which is expected to take around 12 days, in a solemn protest march from their hometown Mitzpe Hila near Israel’s northern border with Lebanon to the Jerusalem residence of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to mark four years since their son was captured by Palestinian militants in Gaza in June 2006.

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Noam and Aviva Schalit , parents of captured Israeli soldier Gilad, march near their home in Mitzpe Hila, northern Israel, Sunday, June 27, 2010. The family of a captured Israeli soldier is setting out on a 12-day march from Schalit’s home to Jerusalem to press Israeli leaders to make a deal with his Hamas captors to free him. Sgt. Gilad Schalit was taken captive four years ago during a cross-border raid by militants from the Gaza Strip. (Photo : Getty)

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Noam (2nd L), the father of captive soldier Gilad Shalit, sets off on June 27, 2010 with other family members, wearing white T-shirts with the slogan: ‘Gilad is still alive,’ on a 200-kilometre (120-mile) trek, which is expected to take around 12 days, in a solemn protest march from their hometown Mitzpe Hila near Israel’s northern border with Lebanon to the Jerusalem residence of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to mark four years since their son was captured by Palestinian militants in Gaza in June 2006. (Photo : Getty)

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Noam (R) and Aviva (C), the parents of captive Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, set off on June 27, 2010 with other family members and thousands of supporters, many wearing white T-shirts with the slogan: ‘Gilad is still alive,’ on a 200-kilometre (120-mile) trek, which is expected to take around 12 days, in a solemn protest march from their hometown Mitzpe Hila near Israel’s northern border with Lebanon to the Jerusalem residence of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to mark four years since their son was captured by Palestinian militants in Gaza in June 2006. (Photo : Getty)

https://i2.wp.com/cache.daylife.com/imageserve/0d9dbdk69v3jh/610x.jpg

The family of captive Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, sets off with thousands of supporters on June 27, 2010 on a 200-kilometre (120-mile) trek, which is expected to take around 12 days, in a solemn protest march from their hometown Mitzpe Hila near Israel’s northern border with Lebanon to the Jerusalem residence of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to mark four years since their son was captured by Palestinian militants in Gaza in June 2006.

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Supporters of the family of captive Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit join them on June 27, 2010 on a 200-kilometre (120-mile) trek, which is expected to take around 12 days, in a solemn protest march from their hometown Mitzpe Hila near Israel’s northern border with Lebanon to the Jerusalem residence of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to mark four years since their son was captured by Palestinian militants in Gaza in June 2006. (Photo : Getty)

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Young Israelis join the family of captive soldier Gilad Shalit on June 27, 2010 on a 200-kilometre (120-mile) trek, which is expected to take around 12 days, in a solemn protest march from their hometown Mitzpe Hila near Israel’s northern border with Lebanon to the Jerusalem residence of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to mark four years since their son was captured by Palestinian militants in Gaza in June 2006.  (Photo : Getty)

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The family of captive Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit (portraits), sets off with thousands of supporters on June 27, 2010 on a 200-kilometre (120-mile) trek, which is expected to take around 12 days, in a solemn protest march from their hometown Mitzpe Hila near Israel’s northern border with Lebanon to the Jerusalem residence of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to mark four years since their son was captured by Palestinian militants in Gaza in June 2006.  (Photo : Getty)

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Israelis hold a banner with an illustration of captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit at Beit Kama junction near Kibbutz Beit Kama June 26, 2010. Shalit was captured by Palestinian militants four years ago in a cross-border raid.  (Photo : Getty)

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Captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit is seen in a video broadcast by an Israeli news channel on October 2, 2009. Israel freed 19 Palestinian women prisoners in a swap for two minutes and 40 seconds of footage showing soldier Gilad Shalit looking healthy after more than three years in captivity at the hands of Gaza militants.

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Captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit holds up a Gaza newspaper dated September 14, 2009, in a video broadcast by an Israeli news channel on October 2, 2009. Israel freed 19 Palestinian women prisoners in a swap for two minutes and 40 seconds of footage showing soldier Gilad Shalit looking healthy after more than three years in captivity at the hands of Gaza militants.

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GILAD’S VOICE :

http://www.habanim.org/shalit.mp3

‘I am the soldier Gilad, son of Noam Shalit, who was captured by Izz el-Din al-Qassam. Mom and Dad, sister and brother, my friends in the IDF. I send you my love and I miss you all. It has been a whole year in prison, and still my health is deteriorating.

I am in need of prolonged hospitalization.

I am sorry for the Israeli government’s and IDF’s lack of interest in me and their rejection of the demands of Izz el-Din al-Qassam [the Hamas armed wing]. It is clear that they must accept their demands if they want me to be released from prison, especially since I was part of a military operation under military instruction and not a drug dealer.

And just as I have parents, a mother and a father, the Palestinian prisoners also have mothers and fathers – and their children must be returned to them. I have great confidence in my government that they will focus more on my issue and accept the demands of my captors.  Corporal Gilad Shalit.’

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Photostream : Israeli Soldier Gilad Shalit Still Alive

https://i2.wp.com/cache.daylife.com/imageserve/0c3ld2j5DYbMJ/610x.jpg

Noam and Aviva, the parents of captive Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit wearing white T-shirts with the slogan: ‘Gilad is still alive,’ leave their home on June 27, 2010 in Mitzpe Hila as they set off with other family members and thousands of supporters on a 200-kilometre (120-mile) trek, which is expected to take around 12 days, in a solemn protest march from their hometown near Israel’s northern border with Lebanon to the Jerusalem residence of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to mark four years since their son was captured by Palestinian militants in Gaza in June 2006. (Photo : Getty)

https://i2.wp.com/cache.daylife.com/imageserve/0fMweoV8TFbA9/610x.jpg

Motorcyclists join the family of captive Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, and thousands of supporters as they set off on June 27, 2010 on a 200-kilometre (120-mile) trek, which is expected to take around 12 days, in a solemn protest march from their hometown Mitzpe Hila nearIsrael’s northern border with Lebanon to the Jerusalem residence of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to mark four years since their son was captured by Palestinian militants in Gaza in June 2006.

https://i0.wp.com/cache.daylife.com/imageserve/0aLygvd9TA4ml/610x.jpg

The family of captive Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, sets off with thousands of supporters on June 27, 2010 on a 200-kilometre (120-mile) trek, which is expected to take around 12 days, in a solemn protest march from their hometown Mitzpe Hila near Israel’s northern border with Lebanon to the Jerusalem residence of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to mark four years since their son was captured by Palestinian militants in Gaza in June 2006.

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Noam and Aviva Schalit , parents of captured Israeli soldier Gilad, march near their home in Mitzpe Hila, northern Israel, Sunday, June 27, 2010. The family of a captured Israeli soldier is setting out on a 12-day march from Schalit’s home to Jerusalem to press Israeli leaders to make a deal with his Hamas captors to free him. Sgt. Gilad Schalit was taken captive four years ago during a cross-border raid by militants from the Gaza Strip. (Photo : Getty)

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Noam (2nd L), the father of captive soldier Gilad Shalit, sets off on June 27, 2010 with other family members, wearing white T-shirts with the slogan: ‘Gilad is still alive,’ on a 200-kilometre (120-mile) trek, which is expected to take around 12 days, in a solemn protest march from their hometown Mitzpe Hila near Israel’s northern border with Lebanon to the Jerusalem residence of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to mark four years since their son was captured by Palestinian militants in Gaza in June 2006. (Photo : Getty)

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Noam (R) and Aviva (C), the parents of captive Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, set off on June 27, 2010 with other family members and thousands of supporters, many wearing white T-shirts with the slogan: ‘Gilad is still alive,’ on a 200-kilometre (120-mile) trek, which is expected to take around 12 days, in a solemn protest march from their hometown Mitzpe Hila near Israel’s northern border with Lebanon to the Jerusalem residence of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to mark four years since their son was captured by Palestinian militants in Gaza in June 2006. (Photo : Getty)

https://i2.wp.com/cache.daylife.com/imageserve/0d9dbdk69v3jh/610x.jpg

The family of captive Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, sets off with thousands of supporters on June 27, 2010 on a 200-kilometre (120-mile) trek, which is expected to take around 12 days, in a solemn protest march from their hometown Mitzpe Hila near Israel’s northern border with Lebanon to the Jerusalem residence of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to mark four years since their son was captured by Palestinian militants in Gaza in June 2006.

https://i2.wp.com/cache.daylife.com/imageserve/0eag9G739N5lH/x610.jpg

Supporters of the family of captive Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit join them on June 27, 2010 on a 200-kilometre (120-mile) trek, which is expected to take around 12 days, in a solemn protest march from their hometown Mitzpe Hila near Israel’s northern border with Lebanon to the Jerusalem residence of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to mark four years since their son was captured by Palestinian militants in Gaza in June 2006. (Photo : Getty)

https://i2.wp.com/cache.daylife.com/imageserve/0bOmbeI7W4b3X/610x.jpg

Young Israelis join the family of captive soldier Gilad Shalit on June 27, 2010 on a 200-kilometre (120-mile) trek, which is expected to take around 12 days, in a solemn protest march from their hometown Mitzpe Hila near Israel’s northern border with Lebanon to the Jerusalem residence of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to mark four years since their son was captured by Palestinian militants in Gaza in June 2006.  (Photo : Getty)

https://i1.wp.com/cache.daylife.com/imageserve/0gNd4M13PS6WQ/610x.jpg

The family of captive Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit (portraits), sets off with thousands of supporters on June 27, 2010 on a 200-kilometre (120-mile) trek, which is expected to take around 12 days, in a solemn protest march from their hometown Mitzpe Hila near Israel’s northern border with Lebanon to the Jerusalem residence of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to mark four years since their son was captured by Palestinian militants in Gaza in June 2006.  (Photo : Getty)

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Israelis hold a banner with an illustration of captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit at Beit Kama junction near Kibbutz Beit Kama June 26, 2010. Shalit was captured by Palestinian militants four years ago in a cross-border raid.  (Photo : Getty)

https://i2.wp.com/cache.daylife.com/imageserve/07UV6BncCN1j0/610x.jpg

Captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit is seen in a video broadcast by an Israeli news channel on October 2, 2009. Israel freed 19 Palestinian women prisoners in a swap for two minutes and 40 seconds of footage showing soldier Gilad Shalit looking healthy after more than three years in captivity at the hands of Gaza militants.

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Captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit holds up a Gaza newspaper dated September 14, 2009, in a video broadcast by an Israeli news channel on October 2, 2009. Israel freed 19 Palestinian women prisoners in a swap for two minutes and 40 seconds of footage showing soldier Gilad Shalit looking healthy after more than three years in captivity at the hands of Gaza militants.

https://i1.wp.com/bengal-babies.com/images/ROSTAR5.gif

GILAD’S VOICE :

http://www.habanim.org/shalit.mp3

‘I am the soldier Gilad, son of Noam Shalit, who was captured by Izz el-Din al-Qassam. Mom and Dad, sister and brother, my friends in the IDF. I send you my love and I miss you all. It has been a whole year in prison, and still my health is deteriorating.

I am in need of prolonged hospitalization.

I am sorry for the Israeli government’s and IDF’s lack of interest in me and their rejection of the demands of Izz el-Din al-Qassam [the Hamas armed wing]. It is clear that they must accept their demands if they want me to be released from prison, especially since I was part of a military operation under military instruction and not a drug dealer.

And just as I have parents, a mother and a father, the Palestinian prisoners also have mothers and fathers – and their children must be returned to them. I have great confidence in my government that they will focus more on my issue and accept the demands of my captors.  Corporal Gilad Shalit.’

https://i1.wp.com/bengal-babies.com/images/ROSTAR5.gif

PM Netanyahu : My heart is with Shalit, family.

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PM Netanyahu’s Remarks at the Start of the Weekly Cabinet Meeting

June 27, 2010

“Friday marked the fourth anniversary of the abduction of Gilad Shalit.  The Government and the security services are continuing to make constant and varied – open and secret – efforts to bring Gilad Shalit back home safe and sound.

This morning, I phoned Gilad’s father Noam.  I invited him to meet with me, along with the rest of his family, immediately after the march reaches Jerusalem.  I told him, “I know Noam that you are on a long journey, which will end in Jerusalem.  I want to see you. I would be glad to meet with you.”  This will not be the first meeting.  Of course, I have spoken with him many times.  Recently, I also spoke with Gilad’s very impressive grandfather, Tzvi Shalit.

Our heart is with Gilad and with his family.  Four years after his abduction, I call on the international community to line up alongside the State of Israel and our unequivocal and just demand that our abducted soldier be returned immediately.”

PM Netanyahu : My heart is with Shalit, family.

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PM Netanyahu’s Remarks at the Start of the Weekly Cabinet Meeting

June 27, 2010

“Friday marked the fourth anniversary of the abduction of Gilad Shalit.  The Government and the security services are continuing to make constant and varied – open and secret – efforts to bring Gilad Shalit back home safe and sound.

This morning, I phoned Gilad’s father Noam.  I invited him to meet with me, along with the rest of his family, immediately after the march reaches Jerusalem.  I told him, “I know Noam that you are on a long journey, which will end in Jerusalem.  I want to see you. I would be glad to meet with you.”  This will not be the first meeting.  Of course, I have spoken with him many times.  Recently, I also spoke with Gilad’s very impressive grandfather, Tzvi Shalit.

Our heart is with Gilad and with his family.  Four years after his abduction, I call on the international community to line up alongside the State of Israel and our unequivocal and just demand that our abducted soldier be returned immediately.”

Family of captured Israeli soldier launches march to Jerusalem to press for his release

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Motorbikes follow a car during a rally calling for the release of captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit in Tel Aviv June 25, 2010. Shalit was captured by Palestinian militants four years ago in a cross-border raid.

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June 27, 2010

JERUSALEM (KATAKAMI / FOX NEWS / AP) — The family of a captured Israeli soldier is setting out on a 12-day march to Jerusalem to press Israeli leaders to make a deal with his Hamas captors to free him.

Sgt. Gilad Schalit was taken captive by Gaza Strip militants four years ago. His parents say they will camp outside Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s official residence until their 23-year-old son is released.

Schalit’s father, Noam Schalit, said before starting the march on Sunday that the family “won’t wait any longer in our home.” He called on the government “to put an end to this sad saga.”

Thousands are expected to join the Schalits’ march.

Israel is reluctant to free some Palestinian prisoners Hamas wants released because they were involved in deadly attacks on Israelis.

Israel marks four years since Gilad Shalit’s kidnap

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Noam Shalit, father of captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit stands next to a placard calling for his son’s freedom at the protest tent calling for his release outside Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s residence in Jerusalem on October 05, 2009.

June 25, 2010

(TheJC.COM)  More than 250 people demonstrated outside the Ministry of Defence in Tel Aviv, with thousands more expected throughout the day, and 600 marched in Nahariya in Galilee.

A mass vigil is planned for Haifa this evening where 6,000 yellow balloons will be released. Candlelit vigils are planned across the country and people are wearing yellow ribbons in solidarity.

A demonstration is also planned outside the International Red Cross headquarters in Israel. Hamas will not allow the Red Cross to visit Corporal Shalit, who is still being held in Gaza.

The Shalit family will demonstrate in Jerusalem on Sunday outside the house of Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, where they will continue to protest until their son is free.

Human Rights Watch, a charity usually highly critical of Israel, called for the release of Corporal Shalit in a statement to mark his four years in captivity.

It said: “Hamas are violating the rules of law with the prolonged incommunicado detention of Shalit. It is cruel and inhuman and may amount to torture.

“The laws of war require a party to a conflict to permit persons deprived of their liberty to correspond with their families and not to refuse arbitrarily a request by the ICRC to visit detainees.”

Only three letters, an audio and a video have been released to prove the captured soldier is still alive.

Six months ago was the closest Hamas came to agreeing a prisoner swap, with the Israeli exchanged for hundreds of Palestinian prisoners, but talks broke down and the Israeli government never received a response to their most recent offer.

Hamas has cut ties with the German mediators who had been arranging the exchange.

PM Netanyahu’s Remarks at a Special Press Conference Regarding the Continued Efforts to Release Kidnapped Soldier Gilad Shalit

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July 1, 2010

(PRIME MINISTER’S OFFICE)  Four years have passed since Gilad Shalit was kidnapped and the people of Israel are united in their desire to see him return safe and sound to his family, to his home, to his country.

We all want his return. We all have a strong desire to see Gilad return to his parents, Aviva and Noam; to his grandfather, Tzvi; to his sister, Hadas; to his brother, Yoel.

Anyone who has met the members of the Shalit family cannot help but think to themselves: this could have been my son, my brother or my grandson.  Therefore, the family’s reaction is natural, as is the desire to help them, to support them, to make your voice heard are also natural and understandable to all of us, including myself.

The State of Israel has always been prepared to pay a heavy price for the release of its hostages.  I know this price firsthand.  I lost my brother Yoni, of blessed memory, during the operation to free the hostages of the Air France airplane in Entebbe. I myself was wounded during the operation to free the Sabena airplane hostages at Ben-Gurion airport.

In circumstances such as these, and in other circumstances such as in the attempt to rescue the kidnapped soldier, Nachshon Wachsman of blessed memory, there was an operational possibility – and the State of Israel did not hesitate to endanger its finest sons to rescue its prisoners and hostages.

In other circumstances, the State of Israel decided on several occasions to release terrorists and murderers in exchange for releasing Israelis.

The most famous deal was the Jibril deal of 1985, in the framework of which 1,150 terrorists were released.  Almost half of them returned to engage in terror and to murder dozens of Israelis at their own hands.

Moreover, those released in the Jibril deal constituted the solid nucleus of the leadership of the first intifada, during which hundreds of Israelis lost their lives in suicide and terror attacks.

We should be able to say: “It was over 25 years ago, times have changed”, but  there were more instances, for instance, the Tannenbaum deal in January 2004, in the framework of which 400 terrorists were released.

Photo : Gilad Shalit
Here is what happened as a result of that deal:-

On January 27, 2004, Hamas activist Musaab Hashalmun was released as part of the Tannenbaum deal.  On August 31, 2004, only half a year after his release, he was involved in a simultaneous terror attack on two buses in Beersheba. sixteen Israeli citizens were murdered and more than 100 wounded in these terror attacks.

Others released in the Tannenbaum deal led to the murder of:

– Two young girls and three men in the Stage nightclub in Tel Aviv in February 2005;
– Two sixteen year-old girls, a soldier in mandatory service and two women in the Sharon mall in Netanya in July 2005;
– And another woman who was murdered in a terror attack in Dimona in February 2008.

Overall those released in the Tannenbaum deal murdered 27 Israelis since their release in 2004. We can say this today with the benefit of hindsight.

Therefore, the decision to release terrorists is a difficult and complex one for any government. We are not only talking about saving lives but also about endangering many lives:

– By encouraging further kidnappings;
– By additional murders by those released;
– By creating a nucleus of terror leadership against Israeli citizens in the future.

It is no coincidence that the United States, Britain and other countries steadfastly refuse to negotiate with terrorists over releasing hostages.

As a result of the complexity of this decision and the general national responsibility resting on the shoulders of every Prime Minister in Israel, when I was leader of the opposition, I refused to criticize the Olmert government on the issue of Gilad Shalit.

I also instructed the members of my faction not to apply any pressure on this topic, and I must say that they behaved accordingly. I said that we were not allowed to turn the issue of Gilad Shalit into a political hatchet, and I personally adhered to this.

I said that public pressure and demands needs to be directed towards Hamas rather than towards the Israeli government. Towards this cruel, murderous terror organization that has not allowed the Red Cross to visit Gilad Shalit even once during his years of captivity.  I said this and did this.

Upon becoming Prime Minister over a year ago, I took the four following steps:

1. I appointed Hagai Hadas to be the Government’s Special Representative on the matter of Gilad Shalit.

2. I agreed to include the German mediator in the negotiations, as he is a man of proven experience in conducting such negotiations.

3. We received an important video where Gilad Shalit is shown speaking, walking and being in possession of his physical and cognitive functions.

My aim was to clarify Gilad’s state and also to affix firmly in the international consciousness Hamas’ direct responsibility for his well-being and his release.

4. After arduous negotiations, I responded favorably to the German mediator’s proposal to return Gilad Shalit home while simultaneously preserving the security of the citizens of Israel.

Now I would like to explain what this deal does and does not include:

The previous government agreed to the general proposal to release 450 terrorists to Hamas. The deal was not completed because no agreement was reached about which names would be included. The previous government also agreed to release 550 security prisoners as a gesture to the Palestinian Authority under Egypt’s auspices.

I had the option of rejecting the entire deal, something that would have placed a huge question mark on the issue of Gilad being released in the foreseeable future, or to attempt to complete it in such a way that would not harm the security of our citizens. I chose to proceed in this manner and to accept the German mediator’s new proposal.

It should be clear that this is a difficult proposal. It includes the release of 450 terrorists, whose names, by the way, were all supplied by Hamas, which provided a larger list and we chose names from among them to reach 450.

The German mediator’s proposal that we decided to accept requires the release of 1,000 terrorists. This is a price that I am prepared to pay in order to bring Gilad home.

I agreed to the deal and it can be carried out immediately.  However, there are prices that I am not prepared to pay that are not included in the proposed deal.  I stand firm on two basic principles:

1. The first principle is that dangerous terrorists will not return to the areas of Judea and Samaria where they will be able to continue harming Israeli citizens. Terrorists that the security forces define as dangerous, such as several of those released in the Tannenbaum deal, can be released to Gaza, Tunis or anywhere else – but they will not be able to return to Judea or Samaria from where they can reach all our cities.  They can go anywhere, not just Judea and Samaria. Through the breaks, the passageways and the gaps in the fence, they can reach Raanana, Petach Tikva, Kfar Saba, Netanya, Haifa, Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and everywhere.

This is exactly the reason that Hamas insists on being able to return to Judea and Samaria.  I am not prepared to return to policies that with the test of time led to the murder of dozens of Israelis.

2. The second principle is to prevent the release of mass murderers, because upon leaving jail they will vastly strengthen the Hamas leadership and greatly inspire new waves of terror.

We are referring to arch-murderers who planned and carried out the most shocking and horrendous terror attacks in which an extremely large number of innocent Israeli citizens were murdered.

With a heavy heart, while adhering to these two principles, I agreed to the German mediator’s proposal.  Hamas has still not responded to the German mediator’s proposal and during the last few days several of its spokesmen have even increased their demands. I think that Hamas is making a mistake but the ball is in their court.

We all want Gilad to return. I want Gilad to return.  I am working to bring about his return in various ways, both openly and discretely.  But I also have to take into consideration the general national responsibility.

I look into the pained eyes of the Shalit family, and I ache with you – the Shalit family.  I also look into the pained eyes of hundreds of family members of terror victims, and I feel their pain.  In the same breath, I am also thinking about those families whose loved ones will be murdered in further terror attacks if we break Israel’s principles regarding the release of murderers.

As Prime Minister, I am obligated to consider all these factors.  An act of haste or lack of consideration are likely to return us to the mistakes of the past and be very dangerous for us.

The call to pay any price is a natural cry from the heart of any father, mother, grandfather, sister or brother.  As a brother and son, I understand this cry from the bottom of my heart.  But before me and before every Prime Minister in Israel, must also be the security of all the citizens of the state.

The State of Israel is prepared to pay a heavy price for the release of Gilad Shalit but is unable to say “at any price”.  This is the truth and I state it here.

We will continue to exert every effort, from up close and far away, both in and out of the public eye, in order to quickly return Gilad who is beloved to us all. We will do this while steadfastly preserving the security of the citizens of Israel.

G-d willing, we will continue to have the restraint and strength of spirit to make the right decisions for the entire people of Israel.