Schalit’s grandfather pessimistic after meeting with PM

After discussing deal to free soldier, Tzvi Schalit "exhausted."

June 23, 2010 05:51
1 minute read.
Schalit video  248.88

Schalit video 248.88. (photo credit: )

Tzvi Schalit, the grandfather of captive IDF soldier Gilad Schalit, said he was “not optimistic” when he finished his half-hour conversation with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Tuesday.

The elder Schalit, who lost a son in the Yom Kippur War, told Netanyahu that he wanted to see his grandson alive and that the situation was critical.

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“I asked the prime minister to return Gilad now because he was the only person who had the authority to do so,” said Schalit.

The prime minister told him that the conversation would be made known to and taken into consideration by decision makers.

The meeting was initially scheduled on Tuesday morning in the Prime Minister’s Office, but was delayed until the afternoon. The two men finally met in the Knesset.

Gilad Schalit was kidnapped almost four years ago, on June 25, 2006, and has been held ever since by Hamas in Gaza.

On Sunday, his parents plan to set out on an 11-day trek from their home in Mitzpe Hila in the upper Galilee. They will be joined by thousands of supporters as they make their way to the protest tent in front of Netanyahu’s Jerusalem home.

Schalit’s father, Noam, has said that he plans to sit in the tent until Netanyahu frees his son.

On Monday, Netanyahu said Israel was “constantly looking for new ways to bring Gilad home safe and sound,” but that the ball was now in Hamas’s hands.

“The German mediator has given an offer for the prisoner exchange deal, but Hamas has yet to answer,” Netanyahu told MKs during a meeting of the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee. The deal includes the release of 1,000 prisoners, including 450 who belong to Hamas.

Gilad Schalit’s family and friends have argued that it is more imperative than ever that a deal be made now, because Israel’s decision to ease the restrictions on goods entering Gaza removes an important tool for pressuring Hamas to release the soldier.

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