PM Netanyahu and wife Sarah headed to London 311.
(photo credit: Amos Ben-Gershom/GPO)
Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, the wife of the French president, has spoken out on behalf
of captive soldier Gilad Schalit.
In a letter to Sara Netanyahu, she said
that France was “doing everything in order to end Gilad’s suffering, through
close cooperation with the Israeli authorities. Like you, I hope with all
my heart that this will end very soon.”
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She added that she was “deeply
shocked” by what the “young soldier” is going through.
Schalit holds both
Israeli and French citizenship, and France has been a strong advocate on his
The prime minister’s wife, Sara, wrote Bruni-Sarkozy last month
as “a mother to a mother,” hoping that she could “find some way to help Israel
in its efforts to free our kidnapped soldier.”
delivered the letter to the French president during a visit to Paris last
The Prime Minister’s Office also released Bruni-Sarkozy’s response
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu raised the issue of
Schalit while visiting French Foreign Minister Alain Juppé on Thursday, and
asked for France’s continued involvement in efforts to bring about his
Juppé relayed a similar message to Schalit’s parents, Noam and
Aviva, when he visited them in the Jerusalem protest tent, which they have
manned for almost a year outside the prime minister’s residence.
was in Israel on the same day that former Egyptian ambassador to Israel Muhammad
Bassiouni was quoted in Egyptian paper Al-Mesryoon on Thursday as saying that
an agreement to release captive Schalit could be reached within hours with Hamas
The Prime Minister’s Office denied the report and said that
“Negotiations on Gilad are continuous and intensive, but there is no
breakthrough on the matter."
Bassiouni later denied the report in an
interview with Israel Radio Arabic. He added there are still major problems that
are preventing the deal from coming to fruition, but Egypt is making major
efforts to solve them.
Hamas also denied the report, Israel Radio
Noam Schalit told reporters that he had not been notified of
the impending deal.
Separately the Palestinian Authority’s Ambassador to
Russia, Fayad Mustafa, said that third party negotiations between Israel and
Hamas in Cairo were close to completion, according to the Ria Novosti
Sources close to the Schalit family added that they have stopped
counting the number of times the media has reported progress on a deal for
Gilad’s release. To their sorrow, the sources said, nothing has changed and they
are closing on five years since Gilad’s was kidnapped.
On Wednesday, DPA
reported that Defense Ministry Diplomatic-Security Bureau Amos Gilad arrived in
Cairo for talks with the Egyptian military government about the Gilad Schalit
prisoner exchange deal and the opening of the Rafah border crossing with
Gaza.Jerusalem Post staff contributed to this report.