For more than a year, Hamas has not responded to Israel's most recent offer for a prisoner exchange deal to free captured IDF soldier Gilad Schalit, the Prime Minister's Office announced in a statement released Thursday. RELATED:PM appoints new Schalit mediatorSchalits ready to politicize campaign for Gilad's release
In response to scathing criticism from the soldier's grandfather in a letter publicized earlier in the day, the PMO said that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is in constant contact with captured IDF soldier Gilad Schalit's family, and feels their pain.
Zvi Schalit had charged that every time the media discusses Gilad, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu invites the soldier's parents, Noam and Aviva Schalit, to a meeting that does not yield any results. In his letter, he also accused Netanyahu of cruel cynicism.
The PMO statement, cited by Israel Radio, stressed that while efforts to
secure the soldier's release are continuing, Hamas's failure to
respond to Israeli offers proves that the terror group does not intend
to make a deal.
The PMO statement also stressed that Netanyahu is also responsible for
the security of all Israeli citizens, and pointed out that dozens of
Israelis have been killed in attacks carried out by terrorists freed in
previous prisoner swap deals.
In a Thursday afternoon interview with Israel Radio, Zvi Schalit noted
that no signs of life had been received since a September 2009 video
tape released by Hamas. He claimed that "the prime minister has no
information on Gilad's condition."
The interview came a day after activists working to bring Schalit home said that they would consider changing their tactics
and adopt a more political approach if they do not see results by the end of the Pessah holiday.Gil Hoffman contributed to this report