Netanyahu to meet Schalits in J'lem

Verbal jousting erupts among those for and against Schalit deal.

By JPOST.COM STAFF,
July 9, 2010 09:51
2 minute read.
Schalit Freedom March

Schalit Freedom March AP 311. (photo credit: Associated Press)

 
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Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and the Schalit family were set to meet Friday afternoon at the protest tent outside the prime minister's residence after Netanyahu returns by plane from his trip to the US.

Shouting matches erupted earlier in the day at the Schalit protest tent in Jerusalem as pro-Schalit activists were confronted by those demonstrating against the freeing of Palestinian terrorists with blood on their hands, including the families of past terror victims.

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The protesters opposed to the Schalit deal reportedly shouted, "we also want Schalit home, but we aren't willing to pay any price [for his freedom]. We won't sell the lives of others for the life of Schalit."

The Schalit family will meet with Netanyahu only if he is ready to tell them that there are new developments in negotiations with Hamas for their son said one of the leaders of the "freedom march" in an interview with Army Radio on Friday.

"The family has marched 200 kilometers to hear something new, namely, that negotiations are reopening, because there is already an offer on the table," Yoel Marshak told Army Radio.

Aviva Schalit implored Netanyahu on Thursday night not to confuse the specific imperative to save her son Gilad from captivity in Gaza with the wider fate of the conflict with the Palestinians.



“The Israel-Palestinian conflict does not begin and end with Gilad,” Aviva told 15,000 people who gathered in the capital’s Independence Park for a rally on behalf of her son.

The event marked the end of an 11-day trek from the Schalits’ home in Mitzpe Hila in the Upper Galilee. They left on June 27 and rested on Shabbat.

The other 11 days they marched, often accompanied by thousands of people. Now they plan to sit in front of the prime minister’s home until he finds a way to free Schalit.

In New York Thursday, Netanyahu suggested to former US president Bill Clinton that he serve as an emissary to Hamas in order to facilitate the release of Schalit. He said that Clinton’s success in freeing the US journalists captured in North Korea showed that he had an ability to carry out such missions.

The prime minister has also said that he would release 1,000 security prisoners for Schalit, including 450 who belong to Hamas, but has balked at Hamas’s demand to free terrorists he considers highly dangerous, because of concerns that they would kill more Israelis.

On Thursday night, Aviva Schalit said that there were security assessments according to which the IDF could neutralize that threat.

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