Hamas has not replied to an Israeli offer to release hundreds of terrorists –
including more than 100 responsible for murdering more than 600 Israelis – in
exchange for kidnapped soldier Gilad Schalit, on condition they do not return to
the West Bank, but go either to the Gaza Strip or to another
Israel, according to government sources, sent the offer through
a German mediator six months ago, The Jerusalem Post has learned.
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offer includes a willingness to release 450 Palestinian prisoners in
negotiations with Hamas, and another 550 prisoners unilaterally as a
the Palestinian Authority – meaning the Schalit deal would be one for
Of the 450 Israel agreed to release in negotiations with
more than 100 terrorists with “blood on their hands.”
made clear it would not release what it has called “mega-terrorists” –
responsible for some of the worst atrocities.
Among those are the
terrorists responsible for the attacks at Jerusalem’s Sbarro restaurant
people were killed in 2001; the Moment Café where 11 were killed in
2002; Café Hillel where seven were killed in the capital in 2003 ; the
Lezion attack where 16 were killed in 2002; the Dolphinarium in Tel Aviv
were killed in 2001; and the Park Hotel in Netanya where 30 people were
on Seder night in 2002.
Israel has made clear that these, and
mega-terrorists would not be released because they would establish a
industry” wherever they were sent.
Hamas, however, is demanding
release of these megaterrorists.
They are also demanding they be
to return to the West Bank in order, according to Israeli assessments,
rehabilitate Hamas’s military capabilities there, after they have been
huge blow over the last few years.
Israel’s demand that more than
these 450 prisoners not return to the West Bank stems from the country’s
experience with previous prisoner releases, when many of those released
to terrorism and were responsible for killing additional
According to government numbers, some 45% of released
terrorists return to terrorism.
The number is even higher among
members, of whom 63% return to terrorism, and the Islamic Jihad, for
number rises to 67%.
The most recent example of this recidivism
seen in the case of the 400 terrorists released to gain the return of
Tannenbaum and the bodies of three IDF soldiers in 2004. Fifty-two
those released have returned to terrorism and are responsible for
Israelis is a number of different attacks.
figures, 42% of the 1,150 prisoners released for three IDF soldiers in
Jibril prisoner exchange in 1985 returned to terrorism and, according to
assessments, many were leaders of the second intifada.
Binyamin Netanyahu has said in private conversations recently that he
and sympathizes fully with the Schalit family, but that although he sees
his responsibility to ensure that every soldier is brought back home, he
has a broader responsibility to the security of all Israeli citizens,
do anything that would endanger that security.
But the Schalit
their supporters believe that Netanyahu has no choice but to agree to
swap.Noam Schalit calls on all Israelis to join march
On Friday, Noam Schalit called on all Israelis to join him
family when they embark Sunday morning from their Mitzpe Hila home in
Galilee on an 11-day trek to Jerusalem to demand that the government
The march will end at the Prime Minister’s
Jerusalem. Once they arrive there, “we will sit and we will not return
without Gilad,” said Noam in a video message that he released on Friday,
fourth anniversary of the day that his son, then a 19-year old soldier,
kidnapped as he patrolled the border between Gaza and Israel.
held by Hamas in Gaza since then.
The only contact his family has
with him has been three letters and one video they have received.
four years we have not known what his physical and psychological
said Noam. “During those four years he has not had any connection with
aside from his kidnappers.
“It’s been four years in which the
with all of its resources, has failed to return Gilad, even though he
held just a few kilometers away from Israel’s southern border,” said
He urged Netanyahu to agree to a prisoner swap.
Gilad is in your hands, there is no time left, return him to his home
is too late.
… Pay the required price and return Gilad to his
His wife, Aviva, also released a video in which she said of
son, “ “I haven’t touched him in 1,460 days – I haven’t hugged Gilad, I
spoken with Gilad. Four endless years, four years of prolonged
suffering.”Steinitz: Gilad won't be freed by marches
Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz said he understood
Schalit family was setting out on its trek, but added that Gilad would
freed by public opinion or protest marches.
“We all pray in our
have Gilad with us,” Steinitz said. “But being a decision-maker also
making decisions just from the heart, but from the head as
Steinitz clarified that he was not criticizing the Schalit
“If he were my son, I would act as Noam and Aviva have,”
But he added that “freeing hundreds of terrorists with blood on their
the West Bank would have dire consequences for Israel’s ability to deal
Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon said over the
that the government should do everything in its power to bring Gilad
“without hurting Israel’s security interests.”
Schalit has dual
Israeli citizenship and on Friday, French President Nicolas Sarkozy
letter he had addressed to the abducted soldier’s parents.
French people, I’m indignant that a man could be deprived of freedom in
way,” Sarkozy wrote. “Such treatment, which totally lacks humanity,
universally recognized principles when it comes to prisoners, firstly
visiting rights of the International Committee of the Red Cross.”
Schalit met with the French ambassador to Israel on Friday afternoon,
reporters afterward that Sarkozy had promised to continue his efforts to
“They have means that Israel maybe does not have,” he
Human Rights Watch charged Friday that Hamas is violating
of war by prohibiting Gilad from having contact with his family and the
The treatment of Gilad is “cruel and inhuman” and matches a
definition of torture because he is denied any outside contact, the
rights group said in a statement.
Hamas released a video of
October 2009 to prove he was alive, but his current condition is
unknown.AP and Jerusalem Post staff contributed to this report.
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