PM: We're working in 'unseen ways' to return Schalit

At Remembrance Day ceremony, Netanyahu says amid Middle East turmoil, "Israel is an island of freedom, democracy and progress."

By JERUSALEM POST STAFF
May 9, 2011 01:22
1 minute read.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu

netanyahu with kipa 311. (photo credit: GPO)

Israel is working behind the scenes for the return of captive soldier Gilad Schalit, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said Sunday during a Remembrance Day speech at Ammunition Hill in Jerusalem.

“Not a day goes by without our acting on behalf of our captives, our kidnapped, our prisoners and those missing, acting for their return home,” Netanyahu said.

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“This includes Gilad Schalit, who is being held by a cruel enemy. We work every day for their return in ways that are not necessarily publicly known. We will not stop until they are at home,” he said.

Netanyahu spoke on the same day that reports surfaced of renewed efforts to release Schalit, who has been held captive in Gaza for close to five years.

Israel Radio on Sunday quoted Palestinian sources as saying that a new mechanism would be used to renew negotiations with Hamas, while an Al Jazeera report suggested that an entirely new plan was being proposed.

A Palestinian source was quoted as saying that Egypt suggested that Hamas renew talks. The new negotiations would reportedly be based on a previous deal discussed between Israel and Hamas through the German mediator.

The Egyptian plan calls for representatives of Israel and Hamas to meet in Cairo and hold negotiations on a prisoner swap deal through a mediator.

The Palestinian source said that Hamas has agreed to the Egyptian initiative and is awaiting a reply from Israel.

According to the source, Egypt is not offering the draft of a new prisoner swap deal, but rather is offering a new way for the sides to take up negotiations from a previous point.

Al Jazeera reported on Sunday that Egyptian intelligence services have, in fact, formulated a new draft to secure the release of Schalit, which Hamas views as acceptable.

According to the report, Egyptian officials will present the draft to a newly appointed negotiator who is scheduled to visit the country in the following days.

Following the signing of the national unity agreement by Hamas and Fatah, Egypt reportedly increased its role in negotiating a prisoner exchange.


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