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(photo credit: Ronen Zvulun / Reuters)
Meeting Hamas’ demands for the release of captive soldier Gilad Schalit would endanger Israelis, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said on Wednesday, just days before the fifth anniversary of the kidnapping.
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He spoke on Youtube in response to a tapped question from an Israeli citizen who introduced himself as Shalom from Ashdod.
He had a simple question for Netanyahu: “Why has he not been freed?”
Netanyahu answered: "We are dealing with a cruel enemy that has held Gilad for five years and even now has not allowed even the Red Cross to visit him.
“They are demanding terms that would endanger hundreds of Israelis. I want to return Gilad, I am ready to through various means but I also have to worry about your security and that of your children and the citizens of Israel,” said Netanyahu.
“We are doing many things that I can not describe. I hope that we will soon be able to see Gilad with us once again. There is no day that I do not deal with this issue. I hope that in the end I will succeed it will be a big day for the state of Israel, a big day for Gilad and his family,” Netanyahu said.
This Saturday will mark the fifth year since Gilad was kidnapped as he patrolled the Gaza border near Kerem Shalom. Since then has been held captive by Hamas, who is demanding the release of 1,000 prisoners from Israeli jails in exchange for Gilad’s freedom, including those involved in terror attacks that lead to the death of Israeli citizens.
On Saturday, his family and friends plan to rally at noon close to the border at Kerem Shalom to demand his release.
Separately, Gilad supporters plan to build a prison cell at a studio in Herzliya. On Saturday, every hour on the hour, a different celebrity or well-known personality will enter the cell. It will be broadcast live on Facebook.
On Thursday, Gilad's older brother Yoel is expected to graduate from the Technion in Haifa.
An Egyptian source denied any progress
in the prisoner swap deal between Hamas and Israel in regards to kidnapped soldier Gilad Schalit who enters his sixth year in captivity this week, London-based al Hayat
The source also told al Hayat
that he had received a letter from Hamas with a message for Israel saying the Gazan group was willing to restart negotiations and even reduce the number of prisoners Hamas demands be freed in exchange for Schalit.
Hamas also complained of the hard line position that Israel had taken in negotiations, which, according the letter, made them "extremely difficult."
The Egyptian source told al Hayat
that Hamas rejected the deal formulated by the previous German mediator, and that Cairo was now acting as the intermediary between the two sides.Jerusalem Post staff contributed to this report.