'Israel, Hamas in indirect Schalit talks in Cairo'

By JPOST.COM STAFF
September 8, 2011 18:37

Palestinian source says Egyptian intel officials mediating talks aimed at securing kidnapped IDF soldier's release; no Israeli confirmation.

2 minute read.



Gilad Schalit

Gilad Schalit 311. (photo credit: REUTERS)

Israeli and Hamas negotiating teams have been engaging in indirect talks aimed at securing a prisoner exchange deal that would include kidnapped IDF soldier Gilad Schalit, Israel Radio quoted a Palestinian source as saying on Thursday.

According to the source, the negotiations have been taking place in Cairo over the last three days and are being mediated by Egyptian intelligence officials.

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The Hamas delegation is being led by Ahmed Jabri, the head of the Islamist organization's military wing, according to the report.

Israel has not verified the validity of the Palestinian source's claims.

Gilad Schalit's father Noam met with US Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice in New York on Wednesday, as part of a series of meetings with UN ambassadors leading up to this month’s UN General Assembly session.

"I was honored to meet with Noam Schalit today, 1,900 days after his son, Gilad, was taken captive," Rice said in a statement. "During this period, Hamas has held Gilad hostage and without access by the International Committee of the Red Cross, in violation of international humanitarian standards and basic decency," she added.

"I expressed to Mr. Schalit the solidarity of the United States with him and his family, and I reiterated our strongest condemnation of his son’s detention. As I have said repeatedly in the UN Security Council, Hamas must immediately and unconditionally release Gilad Shalit," Rice stated.

In the presence of Noam Schalit, Israeli Consul-General Ido Aharoni and New York City political leaders and Jewish leaders, New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn proclaimed Wednesday, September 7, “Gilad Schalit Day” in New York City. Schalit’s father intends to meet this week with UN ambassadors before this month’s UN General Assembly session, advocating on behalf of his son.

San Francisco’s Mayor Edwin Lee declared this past August 28 “Gilad Schalit Day” in that city. That was Schalit’s 25th birthday, and his sixth in captivity. The New York event struck a chord with New York political figures.

“There is a great friendship between New York City and Israel, so it was important to us to recognize the horror of Gilad’s continued imprisonment, and to stand united with his family and all of Israel in seeking his safe return,” New York City Councilman Daniel Garodnick told The Jerusalem Post. “As a new father, I cannot imagine what the Schalit family must be going through.”

Jordana Horn contributed to this report.


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