Gilad Schalit in video 311 (R).
(photo credit: Reuters)
German mediator Gerhard Konrad is back in the region in efforts to reach
a prisoner exchange deal between Israel and Hamas for kidnapped soldier
Gilad Schalit, newspaper A-Sharq al-Awsat reported on Friday.
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report cited senior officials in Jerusalem as saying that a deal had
previously been reached by the government of Prime Minister Binyamin
Netanyahu and Hamas's political leadership but that the group's armed
wing in the Strip rejected the offer.
official added that "Netanyahu presented a proposal to Hamas that was
better than the proposals of former prime minister Ehud Olmert," A-Sharq
A deal for Schalit's release, the report said, is nonetheless more and more distant from reaching a successful outcome.
Noam Schalit, father of captive soldier Gilad Schalit, said that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and members of his bureau are trying to hide their inability to return Gilad by repeatedly scaring [the public] about terror attacks, Israel Radio reported on Friday.
Netanyahu is turning to the lowest common denominator of public anxiety, Schalit said, and is bringing up the Jibril Deal 26 years ago, "even though he knows that, today, the State of Israel knows how to deal with terrorists and with terror."
Earlier in April, London-based Al-Hayat
cited a senior Hamas official as saying that Konrad had failed in talks to return Schalit
and had returned to Germany.
Deputy chairman of Hamas' political bureau, Moussa Abu Marzouk, told Al-Hayat
that Konrad had not succeeded in advancing the prisoner exchange and
had been unable to make any breakthroughs and that "there is no way
Explaining the failure, he said that Konrad had not made an adequate
effort to incorporate previous understandings reached under the previous
government of Ehud Olmert into the current negotiations. The Hamas
leader added that "now a breakthrough is no longer possible."
Abu Marzuk noted that while Konrad's role in the negotiations had ended,
Hamas would "not oppose his return if the Israeli government wants it."
On Wednesday, Hamas officials said that they were "positively considering releasing a new tape
of Gilad Schalit, but Israel will have to pay a price for it," reported Army Radio.
The statements were published Tuesday in the organization's official newspaper, al-Resalah
"Will Schalit appear once again on the screen?" the article asked, and
said that the release of "a video along with a photo of Gilad would put
pressure on Netanyahu to start moving forward in making an exchange deal
with Hamas for the release of Palestinian prisoners," Army Radio