PM: Meeting Hamas terms for Gilad will endanger Israelis

On YouTube, PM tells viewers, “There is no day that I do not deal with this issue"; Schalit family to rally on anniversary of Schalit's capture.

June 22, 2011 21:53
2 minute read.
Netanyahu at the weekly cabinet meeting, Sunday.

netanyahu cabinet meeting_311 reuters. (photo credit: Ronen Zvulun / Reuters)


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Meeting Hamas’s demands for the release of captive soldier Gilad Schalit would endanger Israelis, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said on Wednesday, three days before the fifth anniversary of the kidnapping.

He spoke on YouTube in response to a taped question from a man who introduced himself as “Shalom from Ashdod.”

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He had a simple query for Netanyahu: “Why has he not been freed?” Answered Netanyahu: “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 bring Gilad home, I am ready to [do so] by 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 cannot describe. I hope 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. That 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 Schalit was kidnapped as he patrolled the Gaza border near Kerem Shalom. Since then, has been held captive by Hamas, which is demanding in exchange for Schalit’s freedom the release from Israeli jails of 1,000 security prisoners – including those involved in terrorist attacks leading to the death of Israelis.

On Saturday, Schalit’s family and friends plan to rally at noon close to the border at Kerem Shalom to demand his release.

Separately, his supporters plan to build a prison cell at a studio in Herzliya. On Saturday, every hour on the hour, a different celebrity or wellknown personality will enter the cell. It will be broadcast live on Facebook.

On Thursday, Schalit’s older brother Yoel is to graduate from the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa.

An Egyptian source denied any progress on a prisoner swap between Hamas and Israel, the London-based Al- Hayat newspaper reported on Wednesday.

The source also told Al- Hayat that he had received a letter from Hamas with a message for Israel, saying the Islamist group was willing to restart negotiations and even reduce the number of prisoners it demands be freed in exchange for Schalit.

Hamas also complained that Israel had taken a hardline position in negotiations, which, according the letter, made the negotiations “extremely difficult.”

The Egyptian source told the newspaper that Hamas had 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.

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