Grapel, Hasson and Molcho 311.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
MK Yisrael Hasson (Kadima) recalled on Tuesday his visit with New Yorker Ilan
Grapel in the Egyptian prison where the Israeli-US has been kept on espionage
charges since June 12.
Shortly before Egypt agreed on Monday to release
Grapel, 27, Hasson, who was involved in the negotiations to free Grapel, and
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s special envoy Yitzhak Molcho, talked to
may be freed same day as Schalit'
wary of Egyptian public's response to Grapel deal'
charges Grapel with setting fire to police stations'
“We met Grapel when it was clear to us that we were about to
close the deal,” Hasson, formerly a senior Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency)
officer, explained. “It was a very emotional meeting, and he was not aware of
the negotiations, even though they were revealed to the press.”
started talking, Grapel didn’t know who we are, and answered us in
Arabic. He said he was treated fairly and sensitively.”
also said Grapel’s parents had been allowed to visit him in prison, and that he
told stories of his experiences in prison.
“I’ll leave him the privilege
of giving the details to the press,” the MK quipped.
reporters that once the cabinet approves the deal, in which 25 non-terrorist
Egyptian prisoners are to be released from Israeli jails in exchange for Grapel,
it will be implemented within two days.
“The Egyptians accused Grapel of
espionage, but they did not indict him,” Hasson explained. “This made finding a
solution easier, because getting a pardon after a trial is much more complicated
– in Israel, too.
“If there won’t be complaints to the High Court, he
will be home on Thursday,” the Kadima MK said.
“Egypt isn’t like Hamas.
In my opinion, most people are not looking at this situation in the right
“The new government in Egypt traversed the potholes [in the
negotiations process] and are worthy of our appreciation,” Hasson
MK Arye Eldad (National Union) slammed the prisoner
“Israel is becoming morally bankrupt,” he said. “After
releasing murdering terrorists for a drug dealer [Elhanan Tannenbaum, who was
arrested by Hezbollah in 2000], the state is releasing drug dealers in exchange
for a professional anarchist who worked against the state at protests [against
the West Bank security barrier] in Bil’in.”
“The state is emptying itself
of any concept of law and justice. Maybe tomorrow the government will propose a
wholesale release of foreign workers convicted of rape or murder in exchange for
Israelis who dealt drugs in Japan or Thailand,” Eldad said.
Terror Victims Association is trying to delay the prisoner exchange, saying that
half of the 25 Egyptian prisoners to be released in exchange for Grapel are,
contrary to official claims, security prisoners.
Almagor said that half
the prisoners had provided weapons to terrorists, while the other half were
involved in smuggling drugs.
“The Israeli government is turning itself
into a Mediterranean bazaar for its kidnapped citizens, making them a living
commodity for terrorists and governments,” the group said.
on Israelis to avoid traveling to Muslim countries, to avoid being kidnapped or
arrested for political purposes.
“Israelis traveling in Turkey and Jordan
may find themselves in a similar situation as Grapel, and consider these events
as a travel warning,” the NGO said.