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PMO: Hamas hasn't answered Schalit offer for over a year
By JPOST.COM STAFF
04/21/2011
In response to harsh letter from captured soldier's grandfather, Netanyahu's office accuses terror group of stalling negotiations.
 
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.

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.

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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
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