Peretz: Schalit was almost freed 2 weeks after capture

Former defense minister Amir Peretz says a deal negotiated through Egyptian mediators "blew up"; pursued negotiations through Syria.

By JPOST.COM STAFF
October 23, 2011 00:02
1 minute read.
Amir Peretz

311_ amir peretz. (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski/The Jerusalem Post))

 
X

Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user uxperience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew, Ivrit
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Repor
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later Don't show it again

MK Amir Peretz revealed in an interview with Chanel 2 on Saturday night that a deal for Gilad Schalit's release had been negotiated almost immediately after his capture in 2006.

According to Peretz, who was defense minister when Schalit was captured, the deal had been fully negotiated with two high-level Egyptian officers who were in the Gaza Strip, but "something blew up" on the other end and the deal fell through. 

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.


RELATED:
Israel, Egypt putting 'finishing touches' on Grapel deal
Abbas to pay grants to prisoners released in Schalit deal

"[Former] prime minister Olmert told me that apparently a deal was set and that Gilad will be released on Friday at four o'clock in the afternoon and it's done," Peretz said. "We expected to receive a message from Mubarak and we promised to release prisoners to Abu Mazen (PA President Mahmoud Abbas), but something blew up there."

Peretz said they continued to explore other negotiating options in the following months, even turning to high-level officials in the Hamas leadership in Syria.

"We didn't even hesitate to negotiate with officials in Syria - that went up to Khaled Mashaal. A month and a half after the kidnapping, we appointed a coordinator. We acted decisively to find a military option as if there were no negotiation, and conducted negotiations as if there were no military option."

Ultimately, Peretz blamed intelligence failures for precluding military actions to free Schalit.

Schalit was released last week after five-and-a-half years in captivity in a prisoner exchange deal for 1,027 Palestinian prisoners, 477 of whom have already been freed.

Related Content

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
August 31, 2014
Prime minister to Channel 1: I’ll be running again in next election

By Gil Stern Stern HOFFMAN