Red Cross: 'No promises on Schalit'

Haniyeh quoted as telling head of ICRC that "humanitarian aspects are being taken care of."

By JUDY SIEGEL, JPOST.COM STAFF
September 5, 2007 13:26
1 minute read.
Red Cross: 'No promises on Schalit'

Haniyeh 224.88. (photo credit: AP [file])

The International Committee of the Red Cross delegation in Israel and the Palestinian territories denied an Associated Press report on Wednesday that Cpl. Gilad Schalit's kidnappers "may permit" ICRC representatives to visit him. The ICRC's director-general, Angelo Gnaedinger - who visited in Gaza with Ismail Haniyeh of Hamas, who still claims to be prime minister of the Palestinian Authority - was reported by AP and presented on Channel 10 as saying: "We asked for access to him and the possibility for him to communicate through us with his family. We have been told that this is under consideration and that everybody is working on a positive solution for this case and that the humanitarian aspects are being taken care of." But when asked for confirmation, Bana Sayeh of the ICRC's east Jerusalem office said nothing was new and "no promises or commitments were made" to the ICRC director-general. ICRC officials have constantly demanded that Schalit be allowed visitors and to send messages to his family, but these requests have been denied, said Sayeh. Schalit was captured in June 2006 when terrorists from Hamas and other groups tunneled into Israel from the Gaza Strip. Two soldiers were killed in the attack. Three months ago, Hamas released a recording in which the young soldier sent greetings to his family and said his health was failing. "We asked for access to him and the possibility for him to communicate through us with his family," Gnaedinger told reporters after the meeting with Haniyeh. "We have been told that this is under consideration and that everybody is working on a positive solution for this case and that the humanitarian aspects are being take care of." "We hope we can reach a swap agreement that can end the suffering of the Palestinian prisoners and close the Schalit file," he said. "There are intensive efforts in this regard."


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