'German mediator visited Gaza to discuss Schalit deal'

By JPOST.COM STAFF
October 16, 2010 10:36

'Al-Hayat' newspaper quotes senior Hamas official's assertion that Gerhard Konrad visited Gaza in last two weeks, but that Hamas's position on a prisoner exchange has not changed.

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IN THIS 2007 file photo, Hamas operatives ride on

Schalit 311. (photo credit: Associated Press)

Gerhard Konrad, the German mediator working for the release of kidnapped Israeli soldier Gilad Schalit, visited Gaza two weeks ago, according to a statement by senior Hamas official Musa Abu Marzouk in the London-based al-Hayat newspaper on Saturday.

According to the al-Hayat report, Konrad met with senior Hamas officials in Gaza to discuss a prisoner exchange, but Abu Marzouk did not reveal any of the details discussed at the meeting, except for stating that Hamas's position regarding a potential prisoner exchange has not changed.

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The report of Konrad's visit came after Gilad's father Noam Schalit criticized the European Union on Sunday as not having done enough to pressure Hamas to release his son, a French citizen.

“When there is a need to pressure Israel, the European Union knows how to do that very well,” Schalit said, evincing a belief in European double-standards regarding Israeli-Palestinian issues.

 
Schalit spoke after meeting briefly with French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner and Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Moratinos. The two men visited Noam and his wife, Aviva, at the protest tent located just outside the prime minister’s Jerusalem residence, where they exchanged pleasantries with the couple who has waited for their son’s return since he was first captured on the Gaza border in June 2006.

Indirect negotiations with Hamas to exchange 1,000 security prisoners for Schalit broke down last year and there has been no significant progress since.


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