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(photo credit: Channel 2)
"We did not blackmail Israel, and we gave free information to Gilad Schalit's father and his family that Gilad Schalit is still alive. When he asked us to bring him glasses for his sight, we did so as a humanitarian duty. We treat Gilad Schalit in a humanitarian way that is in line with the Palestinians' morals," Hamas leader in Syria, Khaled Mashaal told a CNN reporter on Monday.
"Hamas changed a lot and great efforts have been made to conform to the realistic positions of Palestinians and Arabs. When Hamas says with other Palestinians forces that we demand for a Palestinian country as the border was back in 1967, Isn't this a development? [Sic]" he added.
But past reports in virtually all Israeli media outlets painted a picture less rosy than Mashaal's account Monday. Hamas's release of an audiotape with Schalit's voice was the first sign of life from him, Red Cross representatives have yet to be allowed to contact him, his glasses were never given to him and reportedly, his captors were not treating him according to the guidelines stated in the Geneva Convention.
Also, comments made by Ahmed Youssef, an aide to Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh earlier Monday, prove that no shred of information was "freely" given to Israel by Hamas, as Mashaal claimed in his interview.
If Palestinian women and children were freed from Israeli jails, Youssef said, Hamas would consider releasing a videotape of captured IDF soldier Cpl. Gilad Schalit which would reveal information about his condition.
The aforementioned audiotape was released on June 25, a year after the soldier was captured.
Yousef told Israel Radio that Hamas was prepared to "give another gesture of goodwill" if Israel responds accordingly.
"When we released the voice recording of Schalit we expected something from Israel in return, namely, the release of women and children from Israeli jails."
"If Israel would have done this we would have published a videotape of Schalit talking about himself," said Yousef, lamenting, "unfortunately, this never happened."
He concluded by saying that if Israel agrees to the proposal, Hamas will consider a "new initiative" in the form of a video recording.
Tuesday marks the 21st birthday of the captured IDF soldier - his second birthday spent in captivity.