Merkel reuters 311.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
BERLIN – Gilad Schalit’s release from captivity in the Gaza Strip blanketed the
headlines of most German national newspapers and many regional papers on
The intense coverage reflected the key role played over the
past four years by German intelligence officer Gerhard Konrad in laying a
blueprint for the complex agreement to effect Schalit’s release in exchange for
convicted Palestinian terrorists.
While Egyptian negotiators brought the
deal to closure, the Netanyahu administration has highlighted Germany’s
contribution to Schalit’s freedom.
The centrist Berlin daily Tagesspiegel
showed a photograph of Schalit on the telephone and quoting him as stating “I
feel healthy.” The broadsheet used pages two and three to report on Schalit as
well as Konrad’s activities.
The conservative national daily Die Welt
headlined its frontpage story “The lost son returns home” and included a
photograph of Schalit, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Ehud
Barak, and Schalit’s father, Noam.
Writing from Tel Aviv, Welt
correspondent Michael Borgstede authored an extensive dispatch on Schalit and
The left-liberal national daily Süddeutsche Zeitung
featured a frontpage photograph of Schalit saluting Netanyahu. The headline
read: “Israel celebrates the return of Gilad Schalit.” The conservative national
paper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung
(FAZ) used the same photo as the SZ and ran
the headline “Gilad Schalit is home” and the sub-headline “477 Palestinian
Writing a front-page editorial titled “After Five Years,”
FAZ journalist Wolfgang Günter Lerch commented on the release of the 1,027
Palestinians who were involved in “serious criminality” as “horrible for the
family members of the victims” in Israel.
The left-liberal alternative
(TAZ) showed the ratio “1:1,027” on its front page and ran an
editorial from the paper’s Israel-based correspondent, Susanne Knaul, with the
headline “The Three Winners.” She wrote that Netanyahu, Hamas and Egypt’s
transitional government secured victories in the complicated
The mass circulation Bild, Germany's largest paper, reported
about Schalit on page two. The headline read “Malnourished! After five years
kidnapped soldier is again home.” The paper’s popular columnist Franz Josef
Wagner wrote a “Dear Gilad Schalit” letter and tried to imagine the repatriated
soldier’s thoughts. He termed the thought process “torture.”
Schalit had the face of a “knowledge-hungry university” student.