Schalit family protests at Kibbutz Degania

Zvi Schalit: Hamas' demands haven't changed over the years; Netanyahu confirms that Schalit negotiations have been renewed.

By JPOST.COM STAFF
October 17, 2010 09:36
3 minute read.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu

Netanyahu lookin a little crazy 311. (photo credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS)

Captive soldier Gilad Schalit's grandfather, Zvi Schalit, said that "a prime minister that doesn't bring about Gilad's release - is killing him," in an interview with Israel Radio on Sunday.

Zvi Schalit and hundreds of protesters arrived at Kibbutz Degania where the weekly cabinet meeting was taking place in honor of the Kibbutz's 100th anniversary. The protesters were calling for the government to bring about Gilad's release.

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The kidnapped soldier's grandfather said, "I don't know why the prime minister doesn't make the phone call that would bring Gilad home." He continued, "Hamas has a very limited demand and it has not changed over the years. The list is known."

Speaking about the moral obligation to bring the soldier home, he said, "he has a responsibility according to the IDF's ethical code, according to Jewish law."

The PMO confirmed on Sunday that negotiations have been renewed

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu confirmed to Army Radio Sunday morning that negotiations were renewed with Hamas over the release of Gilad Schalit.

"We're constantly working in various ways to try and bring Gilad home. The primary way is through German-mediated negotiations that were renewed a few weeks ago," Netanyahu said.

Earlier, response to reports that talks were renewed with Hamas, the Schalit family said they were not optimistic about Gilad's release.

"We know only the opposite of what the prime minister confirmed. The delay on the issue continues and unfortunately the report is incorrect. There are efforts but only on paper. There are no negotiations, and so there is nothing to update," Noam Schalit told Army Radio Sunday morning.

Government sources on Saturday had already confirmed reports that German mediator Gerhard Konrad went to Gaza three weeks ago to speak with Hamas officials in relation to the negotiations, Channel 2 reported.

According to the report, the mediator was in Gaza three weeks ago.

Noam Schalit on Saturday responded to media reports of the German mediator's trip to Gaza, saying that he had no knowledge of such a trip.

"The answers lie with the Prime Minister's Office," said Schalit. He added that he could not confirm or deny the report.

Konrad, the German mediator working for Schalit's release, visited Gaza two weeks ago, according to a statement by senior Hamas official Musa Abu Marzouk in the London-based al-Hayat newspaper on Saturday.

According to the al-Hayat report, Konrad met with the senior Hamas officials, but Abu Marzouk did not reveal any of the details discussed at the meeting, aside from stating that Hamas' position regarding a potential prisoner exchange has not changed.

Noam's remarks and the report of Konrad's visit came after Schalit criticized the European Union on Sunday for not having done enough to pressure Hamas to release his son, who also holds French citizenship.

“When there is a need to pressure Israel, the European Union knows how to do that very well,” Schalit said, evincing a belief in European double-standards regarding Israeli-Palestinian issues.

Schalit spoke after meeting briefly with French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner and Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Moratinos. The two men visited Noam and his wife, Aviva, at the protest tent just outside the prime minister’s residence in Jerusalem, where they exchanged pleasantries with the couple who have waited for their son’s return since he was first captured on the Gaza border in June 2006.


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