'If I were Palestinian I'd kidnap soldiers'

Noam Schalit says, “we also kidnapped British soldiers when we were fighting for our freedom,” in an interview with Channel 10.

By GIL STERN STERN HOFFMAN
March 14, 2012 22:21
2 minute read.
Noam Schalit

Noam Schalit 311. (photo credit: Reuters)

 
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Noam Schalit, father of former kidnapped soldier Gilad Schalit, said Wednesday that if he were Palestinian he would try to kidnap IDF soldiers.

In an interview with Channel 10, Schalit, who is running for a Knesset seat with the Labor Party, paraphrased former Labor leader Ehud Barak, who shocked many people when he told Israeli journalist Gideon Levy in a 1998 interview that if he was Palestinian, he would have joined a terrorist organization.

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“We also kidnapped British soldiers when we were fighting for our freedom,” Schalit said, referring to pre-state Zionist paramilitary organizations during the British mandate.

Asked if he would be in favor of negotiating with Hamas, he said, “I am in favor of speaking to anyone who wants to talk to us.”

When interviewer Amnon Levy asked whether Schalit’s answer still applied if Hamas was headed by his son’s kidnapper, Schalit said “If they change their ways and are willing to recognize Israel as a Jewish state, yes, I would shake his hand.”

In the interview, Schalit was unprepared to reveal his opinion on key issues like whether Israel should attack Iran. But he did say that following his son’s kidnapping, Israel should have stopped transferring tax payments and gas to Gaza.

The television interview depicted Schalit as afraid to allow mud to be tracked into his house and unprepared for mudslinging in the Knesset. Schalit however did criticize Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu when he was asked why he thought Netanyahu made the deal that brought Gilad home in October.



“I think the prime minister sees lots of polls,” Schalit said. “Every poll found that 70 percent of the public wanted the deal and it even got to 80%. Netanyahu saw the public would not tolerate a repeat of what happened to [missing airman] Ron Arad.”

Schalit contrasted the behavior of the last two prime ministers when he said that Netanyahu had promised him in his first meeting as prime minister that he would return his son, while former prime minister Ehud Olmert told him that he “had no contract with any soldier who fell in captivity” that required him to bring him home.

Noam Schalit also revealed for the first time that during his five-year struggle for Gilad’s freedom, he always had in mind that his own twin brother Yoel had been shot in captivity by the Syrians in the 1973 Yom Kippur War.

Schalit confirmed reports that he wanted to write a book about his son’s ordeal in Gaza but Gilad opposed the idea. He said Gilad would speak to the Israeli media for the first time “soon.”

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