Israel's Ambassador to the US Daniel Ayalon said Tuesday night that Israel would stop its military operation if Cpl. Gilad Shalit were released. In a first public remark of an Israeli official since the operation in Gaza began, ambassador Ayalon told CNN International that "The objective of the Israeli operation in Gaza is to return safely the Israeli soldier." Ayalon added "if indeed he will be returned safely, we will cease the operation".
Ayalon stressed that Israel has exhausted all the diplomatic possibilities to resolve the Gaza standoff and was "left with no choice but to act."
Ayalon told The Jerusalem Post that shortly after the military operation began he spoke to senior officials at the State Department and National Security Council and briefed them on the objectives of Israel. Ayalon said he did not sense any American objection to the Gaza operation.