Noam Schalit to meet with officials in DC to exploit 'window of opportunity'

Soldier's father hopes the new US administration and Congress can make a difference in securing his son's release.

April 29, 2009 23:35
2 minute read.
Noam Schalit to meet with officials in DC to exploit 'window of opportunity'

noam Schalit cap 248.88. (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)


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

Noam Schalit is hoping that the new US administration and Congress can make a difference in securing the release of his son Gilad Schalit from Gazan captivity and is due in Washington Thursday to make his case to key officials. "There's a kind of new window of opportunity," Schalit told The Jerusalem Post by phone from New York, where he visited Wednesday. "We believe that the new administration is going to take a more important role in the Middle East now," he said, referring to the Obama administration's stress on playing an active role in the region and making progress toward Arab-Israeli peace. Schalit said he would ask the US officials he meets to bring up the case of his son, an IDF soldier who was kidnapped by Hamas while on duty on the border with Gaza in 2006, "in every contact and in every channel" the US uses in its Middle East diplomatic effort. Schalit is scheduled to meet with members of Congress and State Department officials and is meeting with American Jewish leaders during his stay in New York. Schalit said he would like the US Jewish community to develop an action committee to work for his son's release. The idea is to make the soldier's case a major focus of the Jewish community's conversation with members of Congress and the administration. Schalit said he was hesitant to make any predictions about success, even with a new approach in Washington. "We have had so many ups and downs," he said. "We are trying to make our best efforts." While Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has yet to announce a replacement for special envoy Ofer Dekel in negotiations for a prisoner exchange that would include Schalit, Egyptian officials say they continue to deal with Hamas on the issue. Cairo is still working with Hamas "to make them more flexible..., to try to get them to understand the situation more, and to make the gap smaller between the two parties," an Egyptian official said on condition of anonymity on Wednesday. Dekel was not only a professional but a respectable person who Egyptian official said he was proud to work with. They were confident that Israel would appoint someone who was just as capable, he added. "We don't have a timeline on this issue, but we are working to reach [a deal], to bring Schalit back to his parents and to release the Palestinian prisoners as well," he said. Brenda Gazzar contributed to this report.

Related Content

U.S. President Donald Trump receives a football from Russian President Vladimir Putin
July 20, 2018
Trump invites Putin to Washington despite U.S. uproar over Helsinki summit