Noam Schalit: PM's prison sanctions 'too little too late'
LAST UPDATED: 06/26/2011 17:45
Five years since kidnapping, Noam says gov't that sent Gilad must bring him home; PM: Israel accepted German-brokered prisoner swap deal.
Noam Schalit called the announcement by Prime Minister Binyamin
Netanyahu that he intends to take privileges from Hamas prisoners in
Israel in order to put pressure on the group to release captive soldier
Gilad Schalit "pathetic," in an interview with Army Radio on Sunday.
Schalit's father Noam said of Netanyahu's announcement of sanctions on
Palestinian prisoners on the eve of the fifth anniversary of his son's
kidnapping, "Five years after he was kidnapped, he starts to introduce
Prosor urges Ban to intervene on Schalit’s behalf
Group protests state’s failure to bring Schalit home
Hamas: Revoking prisoners' privileges is against int'l law
Photo gallery: Schalit rallies in Israel, around the world
pathetic," he said. "It's too little, too late." Hamas, he added,
"wont' agree to a deal until the government of Israel puts real pressure
Schalit also addressed criticism leveled in recent
days that he and his family should be putting pressure on Hamas and Arab
governments, not the Israeli government. Earlier Sunday, Netanyahu that
he had agreed to terms for Schalit's release put forward by the German
mediator, but that Hamas had rejected the terms.
"I'm the father of a soldier," Noam said, "I'm not part of strategic discussions."
say we should be protesting in front of the Egyptian embassy, Jordan,
at the prisons. But it isn't the government of Egypt or Jordan that sent
Gilad," he said.
The father of the captive soldier added, "I'm
not a part of strategic discussions. I know that the government that
sent Giald needs to bring him home. If they can do it in one way, then
do it that way; if they can do it another way, then do it that way."
Zvi Schalit calls PM Gilad's 'enemy number one'
Schalit, the grandfather of captive IDF soldier Gilad Schalit said
Sunday that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is the greatest obstacle
to his grandson's freedom.
"The prime minister is my grandson's
enemy number one," he told Army Radio. "I foresee my grandson dying
there ... Netanyahu insists that [Gilad] returns to us in a coffin,
wrapped in the national flag."
Noam Schalit on Sunday morning also issued searing criticism of the
prime minister during a press conference from the Schalit family's
protest tent in Jerusalem.
"No one will forgive you for
abandoning Gilad, which is what has happened until today," the captured
soldier's father said, speaking on the fifth anniversary of his son's
Noam went on to say that Netanyahu's weakness in efforts
to release captured Gilad endangers the values of the State of Israel.
"The weakness and stubbornness that Netanyahu has shown in this process
is a danger to Gilad's life and it's a danger to the values of Israel."
say to the prime minister, you are unable to put pressure on Hamas, to
pay the price demanded. We're not talking about [paying] any price,
about hypotheticals, just about the price demanded," Noam said.
has been in captivity for 1,826 days, buried alive in Gaza, and there
is no other way to describe it," the soldier's father told reporters.
"During a period of five years, the Israeli governments that sent him
[to Gaza] failed to bring him back."
Speaking about the proposed
prisoner exchange deal between Hamas and the Israeli government, Noam
said, "The prime minister is afraid to make decisions. There are risks
involved, but the government is afraid to confront a few dozen
terrorists who might return to terrorism [if they are released]."
father added that the campaign for Gilad's release will launch a new
effort intended to put pressure on the government, that will involve
senior security officials expressing their support for a prisoner
Netanyahu: Israel has accepted German-brokered exchange deal
on Sunday morning, Netanyahu told the weekly cabinet meeting that
Israel has accepted a prisoner exchange deal to free Schalit brokered by
"This situation is difficult and complicated
for Israel, but we agreed to accept it in the interest of bringing Gilad
home," the prime minister said.
Netanyahu said that Israel had not yet received a response from Hamas on the deal.
are involved in many actions ... in order to bring Gilad Schalit back
home, safe and sound," he told his Cabinet. "The State of Israel is
ready to go far, more than any other country, in order to secure Gilad's
release but it is my responsibility, and the responsibility of those
who are sitting here, to see to the security and lives of the Israeli
Commenting on his promise last week to revoke the
benefits and privileges of Hamas terrorists in Israeli jails, the prime
minister said, "We made a decision that the party is over. We are also
operating in other ways [to release Schalit] which I will not elaborate
"Israel is prepared to go a long way, more than any other country," he said.
speaking at the cabinet meeting, Interior Minister Eli Yishai called on
the government to speed up negotiations over the release of Schalit.
"We must speed up negotiations and get this over with. Five years is too long," Yishai said.
He added that the government should stop the transfer of funds to Gaza to pressure Hamas into releasing Schalit.
Campaign calls on public to send SMS for Gilad
Liebman, head of the Free Schalit campaign, also urged the public to
send a text message to 5252 or log on to www.gilad.org and tell Prime
Minister Binyamin Netanyahu that they support the proposed deal of
releasing 450 Hamas prisoners, some with blood on their hands, in
exchange for Schalit, with the promised release of an additional 550
prisoners after Schalit is returned home.
On Friday, meanwhile,
France’s Ambassador for Human Rights Francois Zimeray said releasing IDF
soldier Gilad Schalit from captivity in Gaza would go a long way toward
proving to the international community that Palestinians are ready for
statehood in September.
Schalit, 24, holds dual Israeli-French
citizenship, and France has actively lobbied on his behalf since Hamas
kidnapped him on June 25, 2006, as he patrolled the Gaza border near
Kerem Shalom with his tank unit.
On Saturday, Schalit’s family,
friends and supporters marked the fifth anniversary of his kidnapping.
Activists gathered midday at Keren Shalom and called on the government
to procure Schalit’s release by Hamas.
In Herzliya, celebrities,
actors and politicians began a 24-hour vigil in a prison cell they
constructed. Every hour on the hour a different celebrity entered the
cell and sat there. The event, which started at 8 p.m., can be seen live
In Jerusalem, Schalit’s family sat on the curb outside the Prime Minister’s Residence and chained themselves to a fence.
however, warned on Saturday that Schalit would not see the light of day
until Palestinian prisoners enjoy freedom in the context of a
“dignified prisoner swap.”
Hamas held Prime Minister Binyamin
Netanyahu responsible for the consequences of the failure of efforts to
secure a prisoner exchange.
Khaled Abu Toameh contributed to this report.